MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry began her Sunday program discussing a racist and hateful word conceived by "wealthy white men," designed to elevate themselves "above and apart from a black man" and to "shame and divide and degrade." These same people have even labeled the president with the word. The word? "Obamacare," the new N-word.
I want to talk today about a controversial word. It's a word that has been with us for years. And like it or not, it's indelibly printed in the pages of American history. A word that was originally intended as a derogatory term. Meant to shame and divide and demean. The word was conceived up by a group of wealthy white men who needed a way to put themselves above and apart from a black man, to render him inferior and unequal and diminish his accomplishments. President Obama has been labeled with this word by his opponents, and at first he rose above it, hoping that if he could just make a cause for what he'd achieved, his opponents would fail in making their label stick. But no matter how many successes that he had as president, he realized there were still many people for whom he'd never be anything more than that one disparaging word. A belief he knew was held not just by his political opponents, but also by a significant portion of the American electorate. And so he decided, if you can't beat them, you've got to join them. So he embraced the word and made it his own, sending his opposition a message they weren't expecting. If that's what you want me to be, I’ll be that. Y'all know the word that I’m talking about. Obamacare. That's right. I said it and I’m not ashamed.
Following Ms. Harris-Perry's logic, "Romneycare" was obviously a derogatory Mormon slur and "Hillarycare" another instance of misogynistic aspersion...
As a professor of Political Science and African-American studies, Melissa Harris-Perry should know that inaccurate and irresponsible references to racist hate-speech and civil rights struggles does little except diminish the horrors that African-Americans suffered.