On MSNBC today, Martin Luther King III said that African-Americans should be members of both political parties, and should engage with the Tea Party. Host Touré was absolutely floored and visibly at a loss over what he clearly considered an incomprehensible suggestion.
"We're not a monolithic people, so, while I happen to be a Democrat, I think it's important for African-Americans to be Republicans, I think it's important for African-Americans to be independent. I say this, kind of, I also think it's important to be engaged with the Tea Party."
The noticeably confused hosts don't know how to deal with that. They fumble out a "why" and then form a question to be sure that it is clear how they feel about that. "Do you think the Tea Party's problem with President Obama is only about his policies? Or something else about him?" Why, what ever could that something else be?
When Touré responds "why," you can hear the MSNBC crowd laughing off-camera. Because the idea that people in the tea party are human beings who matter and vote and count as actual American citizens is not something MSNBC's audience is prepared to accept. Nor are its hosts, obviously.