At the Risk of Sounding Angry: On Melissa Harris-Perry’s Eloquent Rage

The internets were all abuzz over the weekend sharing clips of our collective Black feminist shero Melissa Harris-Perry’s Saturday morning show. During the show, she lost her cool with panelist Monica Mehta, a conservative financial expert, who represented every unthoughtful mythic thing that I’ve come to believe a person has to believe in order to be a member of today’s racist Republican Party.

After I posted the clip to my FB page, a former student of mine, simply commented that this was an example of “eloquent rage.” She knew I would get the reference, because the first time she ever used it was in reference to me, and my impassioned style of teaching students about the politics of race, class, and gender. My first reaction to being characterized in this way was denial. “I’m not angry,” I told her. “I’m passionate.” And then she looked at me with a tell-tale knowing honesty and said simply, “You know you’re angry, Brittney.” (Sometimes in some places, I let my students call me by name.)

It was one of the most transformative moments in my teaching because I realized a.) that it was anger, and not merely passion b.) that I was bringing it with me into the classroom c.) that I had a right to be angry about the injustices that I teach about  and live daily and d.) I could resist and deny my anger or use it to make me better at what I do. I chose the latter.

When I watched Melissa lose it, oh so beautifully, passionately, eloquently, and truthfully, for the brief moment that she did I experienced deep and profound knowing, the knowing that comes from the frustration of having to listen to people talk sideways to you, about shit that is merely theoretical for them, all the while you know that the attitudes they hold are especially detrimental to people who look like you.

It is even more infuriating when people of color espouse such bullshit. I know that all Black and Brown folk don’t think alike. I also know that when folk of color align themselves with the Republican Party, that alignment is often deeply tied to a deep disdain and disavowal for what they perceive to be a narrative of Black victimhood that makes one beholden to social entitlements (welfare). I know Black and other non-white folks who’ve made their life paths about distancing themselves from such a narrative. There is also a liberal version, and that version is a Toure’ style “post-Blackness” “post-race” blah. But to believe in any of it is to remain in deep denial about the way that white supremacy structures our society. 

This denial allows people to see MHP’s expression of anger as over the top and out of order, and miss the fact that Clint Eastwood’s “performance” at the RNC last week was nothing if not a classic white male racial temper tantrum.

It also allowed Monica Mehta’s persistent use of racial microaggressions towards Black people to come off as earnest commentary, while Melissa’s emotional reaction was perceived as disproportionate to the slight. There is also a racialized gender dynamic at play as well in which white women and non-Black women who are frequently exoticized  can use the hyperfemininity ascribed to their bodies as a shield behind which they get to say the most racially problematic shit, and have it remain unrecognized as aggressive and offensive. 

I applaud MHP for her show of eloquent rage. It was honest, and it is so necessary in this moment of massive political dishonesty. Moreover, in light of the destruction caused by Hurricane Isaac and the personal impact that it had on MHP’s family, her stress was completely understandable.

MHP’s house destroyed in Hurricane Isaac

Even when she apologized for losing it, I’m glad that she took off the strong Black woman mask, and said in effect, I’m stressed, my family just lived through another Hurricane on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and even though I have this fancy job and resources at my disposal, all is not well. In other words, she wasn’t just showing anger. She was showing pain. The kind of pain that Black women are frequently not allowed to publicly  acknowledge is actually happening in our own lives.

One of the ways White supremacy and sexism works is through a putative disavowal of emotion as a legitimate form for expressing thought. Women and Black people are overly emotional, so the conventional wisdom goes. We have been taught to overcompensate for this stereotype by being overly composed, even when anger is warranted. And we are wholly unprepared when our emotions start to split the seams of our tightly put on public selves. Perhaps it’s time to change clothes, and intentionally put on something that gives us room to breathe.

For me, that has meant embracing my own crunkness. Why go off when I can GET CRUNK? And by that I mean I can make an  intentional choice to use my legitimate and righteous anger in an honest and compassionate way that is potentially transformative. 

I, for one, am thankful for MHP’s voice and her courage, and yep, you guessed it– her CRUNKNESS.

crunktastic

71 thoughts on “At the Risk of Sounding Angry: On Melissa Harris-Perry’s Eloquent Rage

    • Yes, I was watching, and hers was a truly transformative moment for me and I think, for all those who witnessed her passionate, authentic response. My reaction, This is “Jesus in calling out the money-changers in the temple.” –true, passionate, loving, anger–moral outrage.

    • Beautifully written. I applaud MHP as well. It was honestly the most graceful showing of passionate, frustration, and anger I have ever seen. Loaded with the truth.

  1. I love your critique on this. When I watched the clip and witnessed the slow build-up, the explosion was not only warranted but on time. A veil was lifted on MHP and I was able to see my Auntie/Sister/Cousin in her face and her pain. I got teary eyed because I too know what it is to live in a neighborhood and worry about sending your child to a low performing school w/o the resources to have an option. That comment alone, reached the core of me. I truly love being a black woman..sigh ;)

    • It’s touching, because I live in the city she’s talking about. It pisses me off that the poor are the first punished and the last helped. And she’s right. The financiers who stole the whole country got bailed out, but if you seal a $2 candy bar you might be facing 6 months in jail. I tutor here in NOLA and the state of the educational product being offered these children is just appalling. The subsequent lack of opportunity being afforded them is being used to justify building jails/prisons faster than schools. I was glad to see Melissa willing to speak an uneasy truth emphatically and without backing down.

  2. There were so many great insights in this post, I particularly connected with the idea that there is a penalty some people of color and women of various backgrounds face when expressing emotion while arguing a point. It took me back to one of my first graduate school classes, where the emotions stirring in me were essential to not letting racism and unexamined privilege run free during a class discussion on inequality. At the same time that my emotionally charged response (calling out latent racism) brought a previous speaker to tears (for fear of being labeled a racist), it also garnered appreciation from another person of color who hadn’t found the words, but was equally offended. Thank you for this post and I am certainly grateful to Melissa Harris-Perry for her eloquent rage.

    • Nobody begrudges CERTAIN “people of color” and CERTAIN races of women their anger when they speak about things that specifically make THEIR groups angry.

      This kumbaya stuff is NOY reality.

  3. I felt exactly the same when I saw the exchange–and knew that her anger-passion would be manipulated by the “cool” idiots, who bury their felt, honest responses to injustice by denial and dismissal. Dr. Harris-Perry had a similar reaction to something the week before. I felt, at the time, that she could use a respite. The new show, her university and family responsibilities are bubbling. Someone, ask her to take a break. Her knowing will not be affected, and she/we will benefit.

  4. “When I watched Melissa lose it, oh so beautifully, passionately, eloquently, and truthfully, for the brief moment that she did I experienced deep and profound knowing, the knowing that comes from the frustration of having to listen to people talk sideways to you, about shit that is merely theoretical for them, all the while you know that the attitudes they hold are especially detrimental to people who look like you.”

    All of it, brilliantly said, but this…this hits right to the heart, for me. I’ve been mulling over this idea about how symbolic it was; Clint’s ranting at the “empty chair” and thinking about how the pathology of racism is dependent on that notion of invisibility. That those who are being oppressed are supposed to just remain silent, remain behind the scenes and accept the grand narratives being constructed, “theoretically”, and passively accept the policies that are both threaten and implemented on their behalf. To me there was great symbolism in this expectation of silence and invisibility. The expectation to just shut up and let me talk for you, and then when we do “step out line” we are labeled as “angry” “defiant” “uppity’ “dangerous” or my organizational code word, “having a bad attitude”. Because this pathology also allows for the oblivion of the oppressors, and the people who sit up on talk shows and justify that bullshit.

    it’s just like Brother Marvin sang, “Make me wanna holla, way they do my life.”

  5. Utter garbage just like this fool’s TV rant. To equate “risk” in finances to “risk” in life in general is flat out stupid. NO ONE in the world except liars, demagogs and race-baiters think that the two “risks” are the same or that anyone thinks they are.

    • Shame on you warnertoddhuston, for thinking you could make someone WASTE much time in order to rebut your foolishness. Thanks for one more display of the height of arrogance.

    • That is her point- that the risks are not the same. The point is that the rich have the privilege to take financial risks because society provides a safety net for them. If they fail, they will be ok. Should we not provide a safety net for those facing real, tangible risks, risks to their lives and their families and their futures, not just to their assets? Yes, these are two different types of risks. One is more dangerous than the other. And yet those who are protected are not those who are in more danger, but those who have more privilege. MHP’s statements speak to the fact that we have gutted one safety net to provide the other, and it is morally unconscionable.

    • Your disrespect for a dedicated scholar’s profound response to an important response made to a person who is ignorant on the topic on which she responded is the “fool.” Truth, honesty, a background of valid, historical and personal experience are beyond your limited vision.
      A prospective publisher gave the manuscript of a novel I had written to a young woman form India to evaluate.Tte “editor” was not qualified to interpret the work of an African American woman, with history int his country from before the Revolution, four university degrees and 40+ years experience “in the trenches.. Yet, she had the power to deny me. Same thing for Melissa Harris-Perry. Until you appreciate that store don’t even go there.

      • Thank you for bringing this up. There is an element of “Since a Black woman got upset about something that affected another group that is NOT Black women (or girls) then it is acceptable this time for her to get angry”

        If she had gotten angry over something that only affected her BECAUSE she is a Black woman (and by extention, affects other Black women & girls too) I hardley think people would be being so sympathetic and understanding, and I think that STINKS

    • Yes. “Risk” as used in the financial world isn’t actually “risky” at all. And that’s the entire point. Entrepreneurs don’t take risks. They open businesses. Sometimes the business doesn’t last. But it won’t cause injury. It’s not a hazard.

      So, yes, you’re right, warnertoddhuston. To equate the two is stupid. NO ONE except liars, demagogues, and GOP operatives — well, you DID include race-baiters — would actually think the two “risks” are the same.

      Here’s the thing: most people aren’t involved in finance or business. The understanding of “risk” is a lay-person’s usage of it — definitions 1 and 2 in Webster’s dictionary. And that’s precisely why right wingers use finance jargon such as “risk” to frame this issue.

    • @warnertod

      You sound like a fool yourself. Did you even LISTEN to what she was taking about,or why she even got mad in the first place? And,BTW,”risk” in the financial markets is EXACTLY what led to the economy crashing in the first place. You got a lot of nerve coming on this site showing absolutely NO understanding of the issues that were being brought up in that show. People risks huge sums of money on Wall Street EVERY day, so your rant is completely irrelevant to anyone with a brain.

  6. “There is also a racialized gender dynamic at play as well in which white women and non-Black women who are frequently exoticized can use the hyperfemininity ascribed to their bodies as a shield behind which they get to say the most racially problematic shit, and have it remain unrecognized as aggressive and offensive.” YES!

    • So true. White women and non-Black women simply DO NOT have to face the racist/sexist garbage that Black women do, PERIOD.

  7. fantastic blog about a fantastic moment i’m grateful i saw while it happened. i could relate. oh, i could relate. MHP is a woman who harnesses her anger in the most positive of ways.

  8. If we all were overly emotionally, the caucasian species would have been wiped out. In fact the melanin species is too nice and wants to “get along” with animals dressed in suits. This stupid notion of inclusion will never work. Go 2012 galactic alignment! End this shit!

  9. @Crunktastic: Mad respect for you. Much love to Melissa Harris-Perry (MHP). I love, love, love the term “eloquent rage.” I love that she got angry. Black women need to be able to tap into our rage. I know it is hard for us to do so because we are already dehumanized and some people use our rage (which-lets just be honest-is often the only reasonable response to alot of the bullshit we endure by having the audacity to breathe) to do just that. I am glad she went off the way she did. Monica was being condescending and making some huge assumptions about poverty that demanded someone checking her. How dare she make judgments on “risk-taking behaviors!!!”

    Sidenote: I am having a hard time dealing with the way that MHP make use of the blighted property that her and her husband bought, as well as how she talks about her experience with hurricanes. It fact, as a 6th generation New Orleanian, it pisses me off. It pisses me off because it feels inauthentic to me: it is not the full story: not only was this her second home, no one lived in it. Not to mention that it is questionable, at best, whether buying the house would actually fight “crime and blight” as she claimed it would in her msnbc special. Her use of it felt opportunistic. I understand why you reference this in your post, but it just makes me sad and angry.

    • I am willing to grant each person their authenticity. I think it is commendable that Dr. Harris-Perry is passionate about her most recent home. Of course she is not 6th generation, but she brings her genuine passion and intelligence to the city..

      It is difficult to understand that another person can be genuine and not have my/your experience. I suggest that this is unforgiving and selfish, as no one can have another person’s unique experience. We do the best we have with what we have. If “I/we” could do differently “I/we” would be another person–not the self “I/we” am/are. The Golden Rule, in many forms, is appropriate.

      She brings needed attention in the way she can–a national platform– to the continuing plight of “N’awlins.” and that can only benefit.Can “I/we” not be crabs in the barrel, and be kind and generous when no harm is done?

      • Dr. Fortune:

        Thank you for the reminder about authenticity. MHP is most definitely allowed hers. I see that I failed in my attempt to name what feels like her opportunism and almost appropriation of New Orleans’ culture (what I mean by this is that she is relying on these romanticized, almost sensationalist colonial narratives of our city and how it needs to be “saved” and “renewed”-2 terms ripe in almost all of the neoliberalist policies designed to drastically change who gets to live here and who does not-and what resources we have access to).
        It is sad to me that my questioning her motives means to you that I am perpetuating the “crabs in a barrel” mentality as opposed to engaging in critical dialogue and the beginning of accountability among black women. While I found the tone of your response to my comment to be rather condescending and patronizing (1: I wish you would not have attempted to reprimand me for expressing an opinion you did not agree with 2:I wish you would not have framed MHP in reductionist terms of “it did not cause harm and it was well intended, so there is only benefit” because it remains to be seen what the outcome of her attention will be and I do not believe that attention alone does not result in benefits to New Orleans and our amazing people and culture), I sincerely thank you for engaging with me and bringing up your concerns.

        Peace,
        S. Mandisa Moore

      • I apologize if my reply re. Melissa Harris-Perry was interpreted as condescending. That is never my intent. My POV is couched in a frame of holistic philosophy, in which I intend, and TRY to understand ever person on their terms. Of course, I have a point of view, as dose everyone.

        My only purpose was to offer a broader orientation to her remarks, from my perspective. As I observe Dr. Perry, she appears to be an exuberant person–that is why she was given the weekend show. How many academics have such a persona that a major network offers them a network show, working around her job and family responsibilities. I wish I could have gained half as much when I was young and teaching.

        There are political and economic matters on which I disagree with her. I, sincerely, try to respect other opinions, and be minimally critical of those I do not.

        Of course, this does not hold for the Repubnuts who are willing to drive the entire world into collapse based on irrational, in-compassionate fear, ignorance, and hatred of the majority of the world.
        I hope you comprehend my POV a little better. Thank you.

      • A Black woman cannot say, think, believe, or do ANYTHING without someone attacking her for it. SMDH. So because the sister bought property in NO, she is worse than the KKK I guess.

        So sick and damn tired of this anti-Black female hatred, SMDH. Especially from people who should know better.

    • @S. Mandisa Moore: how’d you and your folks fare during Isaac?

      You are right that in many ways MHP’s connections to New Orleans can in no way equate to people who’ve lived there for multiple generations. I didn’t do a great job of making the distinction that she’s a newcomer to the game. But when i watched the show, I could sense that she was about to break, and even afterward, when she attributed it to the stress from Isaac, it just felt to me like that shell-shock that folks who’ve dealt with terrible natural disasters seem to have. The stress and distress felt real to me.

      I will say that she seemed pretty hesitant about making a big deal about the destruction of her house, and she definitely made it very clear that they she and her family didn’t live there, that they lived elsewhere, and that at the end of the day it is just property. I chose not to put those details in, perhaps against my better judgment.

      Yes, I agree that we definitely have to have a more robust conversation about some real and long-lasting solutions to the challenges folks in the N.O. are facing. So I feel you on your skepticism. I really only wanted to make the point that in some ways this is exactly what Black women are asked to do all the time, though–endure various forms of personal injury and devastation, then go to our jobs, have folks say all manner of egregious ish to us, while we keep it poised and together. If MHP couldn’t do it, and she has two houses and two jobs, LOL, then how the hell is a regular everyday Black person supposed to do it?!

      Anyway, thanks as always, fellow Louisiana girl, for your support, for making me think, and for keeping me on my toes.

      Peace, Crunktastic

      • Crunktastic:

        So funny that you say I keep you on your toes because I feel the same about you! :) And I am deeply appreciative for being able to engage in this way, about things that mean so much to us. Your response was really thoughtful. I think you name something that I was having trouble articulating- that we definitely need to have a more robust conversation about long-lasting solutions to the challenges folks are having all across the Gulf Coast. But more importantly, I feel you about making the point that this is what Black women have to do everyday-keep it together when the more reasonable response is to go the fuck off, but the consequences of going the fuck off are often so dire for us. I am still upset that MHP felt that she had to even apologize.

        Thank you as well, sistah!

        Much love,
        s mandisa moore

      • @Crunktastic: I just realized I never answered your question about Hurricane Issac! I am so sorry. My family is great. My parents lost power for a couple of days, but their home is fine. My partner and I, and our attitudinal cat, evacuated, but our apt was fine when we returned. Thank you for asking-now our attention is on the people of LaPlace, La and Plaquemines Parish.

        @TheOne: Please don’t come for me. I was expressing something that bothered me about MHP’s framing and you didn’t like it. In fact, it seems it downright pissed you off. I get that. But to accuse me of anti-black female hatred because I dare to offer a critique of a fellow black woman is just…ugh! And the KKK reference?? Grrl, stop. Please.

  10. Bravo. Melissa did all of us black women proud! Truth telling in today’s harsh racist environment is sometimes difficult for those in the public eye. I applaud her. Your essay gives voice to the quiet rage that many feel.

  11. So glad that CFC commented on this. When I watched the show, I just felt this pride in Harris-Perry speaking up, but I was still slightly stunned that EVERYONE kept talking as if it was a calm, controlled debate. I was just thinking this is not controlled unless the main objective was “ignore-the-valid-point-made-by-the-host.”

    • “calm…as if.” This is the expected response of well-trained, brain washed people, who think they are being civilized/ well bred/ academic when they are actually fear-filled little automatons, with a veneer of “manners” on the barbarian, who can destruct the humanity of a Melissa Harris-Perry with their inhumanity and ignorance. This kind of artificiality is not the honest, informed response of a complete human, who honors ALL of themselves, body-mind-spirit.

      • “This is the expected response of well-trained, brain washed people, who think they are being civilized/ well bred/ academic when they are actually fear-filled little automatons, with a veneer of “manners” on the barbarian, who can destruct the humanity of a Melissa Harris-Perry with their inhumanity and ignorance.”<— You better tell it, Ms. Fortune. Thank you so much for reading!

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  13. Yes ‘Eloquent rage’ may be her assessment but to me its not yet that rather call it ‘The brewing rage’

  14. What a delightful reflection piece! I love the idea of “eloquent rage”. I remember when participated in an research institute monthly gathering with all these amazing feminist scholars back in 2002-2003 at Rutgers. Patricia Williams a participant. She read this paper, which was an amazing, truthtelling “rant” against the Bush Administration’s rally to wage war on Iraq. I think I pubiclly called it a rant. Imagine little ole me telling the winner of the MacAuthor Genius Award that she was ranting. She and I were the only two black women in the room of course, and I was about 7 months pregnant, and not a formally enrolled grad student. I had the nerve to tell her that she just brilliantly articulated how I felt every morning after watching the news or skimming the headlines. I also observed that her paper was not “scholarly” in the conventional sense. Ugh! In any case, I ended up studying some of the most eloquent ranters including hooks, collins, and davis and arguing that they employed their own distinct “epistemology”–black feminist epistemology! Okay, I say all this to say that your piece was lovely, that MHP is a fabulously engaging and informed “truthteller”, and that I believe she exemplifes a really exciting intellectual and career trajectory for feminists of color that is not confined to academia. I will say a prayer for her and her family, and one for you too, for being so very courageous.

  15. Please allow a small “rant.” I’ve been out of the academy for the span of a career-20 years. Always a rebel, I walked away from a major Chicago doctoral fellowship because i was not willing to “kiss-off’ and lose myself as I saw throughout “THE university.” Young folk read “The Zen of Motorcycle Maintenance” about the dangers of academic brain washing.
    My main concern is the tole of language in forming opinion. “Rant,” “nigger” even “scholarly” as in “peer reviewed,” are unnoticed, subtle influences that deter free thought.Think about it. Humans devise words to communicate, as crunk.. We give the words meaning. Over time, differing interpretations gloam onto the word(s). The word is not the power; the interpretation is the power. WE can determine (control) the interpretation, if we choose. Choice is freedom. No choice, no freedom. We can agree to this–why not take the notion everywhere. Thank you.

  16. “Even when she apologized for losing it, I’m glad that she took off the strong Black woman mask, and said in effect, I’m stressed, my family just lived through another Hurricane on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, and even though I have this fancy job and resources at my disposal, all is not well.”

    This…is what I love her most for. She unapologetically displays a full range of emotions and mood…anger, pain, levity, frustration…something very few women of ANY race do freely.

    No comment on Mehta. Indian culture quite gleefully still supports classism based on race, education, nationality…everything under the sun, and many (not all) bring that system of elitism with them. I wasn’t one bit shocked by her reaction…except by her lack of reaction with the White male on the panel agreed with MHP…perhaps I shouldn’t been by that either though.

  17. I’m glad I saw this as I didn’t see the show live.
    I was thinking about the idea of risk. MHP asked the excellent question about what is riskier than being poor in America. If I go into business, I take some risk. I might lose the money I put in. I might have to walk away from my home and rent for a while, and I might have to go back to the corporate world to work again.
    That is a very different kind of risk than the risk of possibly being shot walking back from the corner store or the risk of being stabbed for wearing the wrong color shirt or hat. I truly think the so-called fiscal conservatives espousing ridiculously low tax rates have no idea about these differences.

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  19. first of all – LMBO @ “you know you’re angry, brittney”!!!!!!!!!!! its true – cuz ppl and society can be so un-REAN-able! but that doesnt have to be a bad thing!!!

    im so sick and tired of having to tip toe around the fact that certain issues that are being improperly addressed, or not addressed at all, in this society are ENRAGING. yes im angry, because sh*t is just wrong! im not going to cloak my discontented feelings about certain hateful/ignorant/dismissive attitudes and policies because it makes you (mr. white guy/gal) uncomfortable. i have a right to be angry and to show you my anger.

    being angry doesnt make me bitter or hateful. it just makes me angry. and i LOVE that MHP said what she said – because its TRUE. and it needed to be said.

    great post Brittney. i love your passion and your anger – it makes you, you. and im always up to hearing/reading about it :)

    • LMAOOOOO at un-REAN-able!!! Yas. Folks just be on the BS sometimes, and sometimes we need to go on and call it out. I’m glad my student called me out, and I’m glad MHP called Mehta out.

      Thanks for reading, Doc, :) .

  20. Awesome Post!! I was just pleasantly catching up on my MHP online, very much enjoying the clips run through this episode and this happened. Whoa!

    The first comment that Metha made on the show was in the first segment, MHP was introducing the idea of rendering a black man invisible (Clint Eastwood’s rant) and linking it to the literal invisibility of people of color in the GOP. The first words out of Metha’s mouth were condescending, insinuating that Melissa was just paranoid and ‘reading too much into it’. Super disrespectful from jump!

    Throughout the entire show Metha was a horrible/hard headed/aggressive guest (making faces at other guests and condescending remarks under her breath) that everyone on the panel was trying to work around for over 1 hr. And it was actually sad because the panelist during the discussion about the presentation of women at the RNC were very interesting and I felt like they could have had a more robust discussion if Metha wasn’t present.

    I profoundly identified with where Melissa was coming from and I think its important to link to the full clip (10.58 min) of this segment that shows the entire lead up to that moment. But in the lead up to the blow up (which isn’t shown in the 3 min clip) she made a remark to MHP, basically saying that Melissa was accusing Republicans of hating poor people, which got under Melissa’s skin to the point where she had to call her on it. Metha kept pushing and pushing throughout the segment with her micro aggression/ belligerence and MHP couldn’t take it anymore.

    I have to say I understood her rage but more than that I really felt exactly where she was in the moments after the blow up. When you saw her head down, I think she felt a bit of shame, regret and fear that she was going to be mis-perceived and mis-recognized to quote from Dr. Harris-Perry. A phenomenon she discusses in her book Sister Citizen that happens to black women all the time and you could witness her fear in those moments after it happened. I wanted to reach out to her and say ‘don’t worry about it girl, keep your head up and please keep fighting for us’

    • Jeanine,
      (The name I had chosen for my third child, who happened to be a Roger. Darn.)

      The exchange between Mehta and MHP is so expected that one could yawn if one were not always incensed at the condescension that is a total failure to understand black experiences in this society. It happens incessantly, a “Here we go again.” I want to be a total ecumenical, diversity accepting, one-world–even one universe– person. I have worked mightily to learn and live that way. But, when the ignorance and superciliousness that brings about the NEED for a retort such as the one, by MHP, the patience of anyone would be worn through. And to feel that she must apologize for being her honest, informed, self is more maddening.

      I’m a grandma and want to “go upside a head,” every time it happens.

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  23. Fantastic piece! I watch the MHP Show almost every weekend because it kickstarts my weekend and fires me up again for another week trying to keep up with the news and be an activist, even in a very small way when I can’t spend the time to do it in big ways. I missed this moment on the show (probably out of the room for some reason) but caught up with it on her website a few days ago. I was so moved by her reaction, mainly because poverty and poor people are hardly EVER talked about. She could not be more right in asking what’s riskier than being poor in America.

    I watched nearly all of the Republican and Democrat National Conventions; I heard the word “poor” twice at the Dems’ convention; not at all at the Republican’s. Both sides of the aisle should be ashamed. We keep talking about the “middle class” (one of the most used words during the Dems’ convention), but HOW do we help the poor to make that leap — through education, through housing, through employment, or through other means — to REACH the middle class? That is a question that I have not seen or heard addressed. It was refreshing, incredibly refreshing to hear Dr. Harris-Perry talking about it. In my honest opinion, poverty is one of THE most ignored national crises in American media.

  24. Every time I hear the phrase “middle-class,” I want insert, “working and middle class” if the “middle” must be used.

    My history for four generations, one set of great grandparents–he a magistrate during Reconstruction, with all children educated and fine pianists– but I value the meaning of “working-class.” Sure many working class people, supposedly. like to think of themselves as “middle-class.” Middle is bland, signifying nothing real. I think it is important to know and acknowledge that the essential thought is WORK.

    • I agree. I am also frustrated at the unspoken implication that the aspiration should be to the professional class, the college-educated, white-collar class. The distinction between assembly-line work and many mindless white-collar jobs is imaginary. Meanwhile some manual labor requires intellectual ability just as much as some knowledge work.

  25. Reblogged this on Catherine E. Hundleby and commented:
    Thehe argumentation schemes approach helps to show the lie in the “disavowal of emotion as a legitimate form of expressing thought.” This is one way that critical thinking pedagogy done with scholarly integrity and argumentation theory can be a valuable resource for social justice.

  26. Pingback: On Being a Black Woman Who’s Angry « That's What GEM Said

  27. I just found the collective — and can I just say that I feel like I am exhaling for the first time in a long time … thank you.

  28. Pingback: Sophia Azeb Responds to Ayaan Hirsi Ali | The Feminist Wire

  29. Pingback: On Anger… « The Crunk Feminist Collective

  30. Barbara. Don’t know if this gets counted twice. I wrote i b it before. Exactly–re ignoring the “working class” in favor of only “middle-class. We need to get beyond the hierarchical attitude. It is a limiter, segregation. Those who believe in democracy should be more careful. G-r-r-r-r

  31. Pingback: Oops your soundbite’s unzipped | The Lawsbian

  32. Pingback: No One Wants to be Called a Homosexual « PLUG

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