On Tuesday, ABC canceled their hit show Roseanne because of racially charged tweets and it just so happened to be the same day MSNBC was airing their Everyday Racism in America town hall event. Along with talking about the news of the day, the program was dripping with hypocrisy from both the guests and hosts. And according to one guest in particular, the way you get all white people to stop being racist is to make bigoted comments about them.
First off, the hypocrisy in MSNBC’s attempt to solve racism and bigotry was pervasive. The co-hosts of the event were Chris Hayes and Joy Reid. It was the same Joy Reid whose years-old homophobic blog posts had recently stirred up controversy. She even suggested hackers planted the posts to frame her despite cybersecurity experts saying that wasn’t true. She also had an award from an LGBT group rescinded.
The event also featured the infamous Al Sharpton, who himself has a long history of making his own racist remarks targeting Jews. Sharpton has defended an anti-Jewish remark he made when he referred to a Jewish landlord as a “white interloper.” “If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house,” he said prior to the 1991 Brooklyn riots.
The hypocrisy didn’t stop there as they had “anti-racism activist” Tim Wise excitedly assert that all white people were raised to put their comfort above black lives. “Well, here's the thing, white-America has been raised to believe, A, the police are always the good guys and, frankly, that black lives matter less than white comfort and until we deal with that, until we deal with the reality,” he exclaimed to the roar of the crowd.
“When you know that is what happens, what you are saying is my discomfort with you right now is worth more than the potential that your life could be snuffed in ten minutes. Until that stops, nothing is going to change,” he continued. These kinds of smears against white people are not how you bring people together. And Wise wasn’t done attacking white people yet.
A short time later, Reid invited Wise to slam and stereotype white people who were “gentrifying” the inner cities. “The irony is, the gentrifiers of today, their parents or their grandparents ran away from the city to get away from black and brown folk,” he bitterly spat. He also suggested those white people were out to target black people:
And now their children and grandchildren are saying, “oh, the suburbs, there's only so many Olive Gardens I can go to. So I need to go back to the city and get my life in the city. But when I do that, I need to have my hot yoga studio and my pottery studio and my stuff represented and if you intrude on that, I will then call the police.”
His animosity was so strong, it almost sounded like he wanted white people to stay out of the cities entirely. That really doesn’t sound like he’s out to end racism.
Hayes also got into the act a slinging mud as he then took to Twitter and suggested Roseanne’s comments were shared by those who elected the President: “Roseanne’s problem turned out to be that she far too authentically represented the actual worldview of a significant chunk of the Trump base.”
Sharpton tackled the topic of Roseanne’s racially charged remarks by twisting documented history and claiming she had felt empowered by the election of Trump. “When he did everything he could to do dog whistling around this issue of race, people like Roseanne feel they're empowered. Well, they got the memo today you're not empowered, people are not going to take it,” he declared.
The assertions by Sharpton overlook the fact that Roseanne had a long and documented history of making such inflammatory comments. During the Obama administration, she had compared another Obama official to an ape and had even dressed up as Hitler while holding a tray of burnt "Jew cookies" for a photoshoot. How was she “empowered” by Obama’s presidency?
When you add it all together, it made for one train wreck of a show.
The relevant portions of the transcript are below, click "expand" to read:
MSNBC's Everyday Racism in America
May 29, 2018
9:04:38 PM Eastern [1 minute 32 seconds]
JOY REID: Do you think ABC did the right thing?
AL SHARPTON: Oh, they did the right thing and I think it's important, the statement they made, because what I think we're dealing with is those that are still trying to turn us back into a day that that is considered normal. And I think we can't get away from the fact if it starts raining you look for clouds. The clouds that have been put over this country to try and bring us back to where this is normal. To take a well-educated beautiful woman like Valerie Jarrett, which they did similar to Michelle Obama and President Obama and equate them with monkeys is not acceptable and we cannot tolerate it. When you have a president that started his political career on birtherism saying that he's not one of us. When he did everything he could to do dog whistling around this issue of race, people like Roseanne feel they're empowered. Well, they got the memo today you're not empowered, people are not going to take it.
CHRIS HAYES: I wonder if you agree. Do you feel like this president has set a tone that that has made people feel increasingly empowered to say those kinds of things?
VALERIE JARRETT: Well, this is what I think, Chris. I think tone does start at the top. We like to look up to our president and feel as though he regrets the values of our country but I also think every individual citizen has a responsibility, too. And it's up to all of us to push back. Our government is only going be as good as we make it be. And as reverend always taught me, you always have to be—the people on the inside have to push hard and people on the outside have to listen and I think that I'm heartened by so much of what I've seen over the last several months. Those young people from Parkland who were able to force Florida to change a law that they had no intention of changing before the tragedy, shows what happens when ordinary Americans lift up and have their voices heard.
9:41:15 PM Eastern [1 minute 17 seconds]
TIM WISE: Well, here's the thing, white-America has been raised to believe, A, the police are always the good guys and, frankly, that black lives matter less than white comfort and until we deal with that, until we deal with the reality -- because here's the problem. [Applause]
When you -- when a white person calls the police on a person of color over a barbecue in a park, sleeping in a common room at Yale, sitting at the Starbucks or whatever it is, knowing that Tamir Rice's life was snuffed because someone called the cops on a 12-year-old boy playing with a toy gun, something that white boys do all across this country without fear of being shot. And that's a national story, you can't tell me you didn't know that happened. When John Crawford -- the cops are called on him at the Walmart also in the state of Ohio, not to pick on Ohio and he's standing there with an air rifle that he pulled off the shelf at Walmart, talking to his girlfriend or whatever and the cops are called on him, they come, they shoot him.
When you know that is what happens, what you are saying is my discomfort with you right now is worth more than the potential that your life could be snuffed in ten minutes. Until that stops, nothing is going to change. [Applause]
9:45:38 PM Eastern [48 seconds]
REID: I do have to ask before we go to break. Tim, how much of this is about gentrification? Because we had issues in a neighborhood where somebody who would have been familiar to the residents, now is unfamiliar to the people who’ve moved in and are uncomfortable and in the process.
WISE: The irony is, the gentrifiers of today, their parents or their grandparents ran away from the city to get away from black and brown folk and now their children and grandchildren are saying, “oh, the suburbs, there's only so many olive gardens I can go to. So I need to go back to the city and get my life in the city. But when I do that, I need to have my hot yoga studio and my pottery studio and my stuff represented and if you intrude on that, I will then call the police.”
This is all part of a larger problem. We cannot solve it just in the prosecutor's offices. We have to look at it as a housing issue and education issue. All of that.