On MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry Show this weekend, the absent host's panel once again caused trouble, as they agreed that even proposing a ban on travel from Ebola outbreak nations is racist. Guests Laurie Garrett of the Council on Foreign Relations and Frankie Edozien, New York Times columnist and editor of The AFRican Magazine, first raised the specter of slavery before going straight for the racist label:
GARRETT: "I was on Capitol Hill yesterday. I spoke to lot of the political leadership of the United States and I have to say I was stunned by how many felt the solution was to completely cut off Africa. no visas. no travel. Keep them out. And this is completely missing the point. The hysteria should not be about one person in Dallas. What the world should be hysterical about is that Africa is facing its greatest catastrophic crisis arguably since the days of slavery. This could turn into carnage across a whole region if the world does not assist immediately."
EDOZIEN: "That would never work. Keeping them out would not work. And the idea that you can keep out a whole group of people who are America's partners, whether we like it our not, West African nations are partners with this country ..."
GARRETT: And trying to do that racist. Let's us be frank about it.
EDOZIEN: Exactly. It's borderline racism and fear.
The crisis in Africa is terrible and requires intervention and assistance. But to suggest that a common sense precaution like limiting travel to infected nations, something other African nations have already done, is somehow racist is absurd.
But it's totally at home on the Melissa Harris-Perry Show, where everything is about race and because of race. Even Ebola.