I’ve written three open letters to Joe Scarborough over the years. I generally watch “Morning Joe” to hear a range of views and discussion of current events. Two of my previous letters were in response to his enabling of voter suppression and the third regarding his defense of Republican Governor’s Bob McDonnell and Chris Christie. The Supreme Court apparently agreed with him on McDonnell, the jury is still out as to whether justice will catch up with Christie but at minimum, without a Trump victory, his political career is over.
Today I must include a few others in my rant, because white privilege. Mika Brzezinski read a story about the wife of Keith Lamont Scott filing a restraining order last October alleging violence against their son and that he “had a gun”. Joe Scarborough jumped in and they went back and forth to suggest there this was justification for his killing and we can all look the other way because there was no racism here.
Were it not for the sole black man on the panel, they would have gone unchallenged. I’ve criticized Harold Ford Jr in the past for taking both sides and being a bit wishy-washy. Today he stood his ground. He reminded Mika that the restraining order had nothing to do with the shooting. She pushed back and with no evidence suggesting that “maybe the officers were aware”. She went on to imply that when the wife was calling out, “Keith don’t do it!” She was really telling him not to confront the officers with a gun. Joe chimed in with his view that racism wasn’t the same factor in Charlotte as in Tulsa.
In perhaps his finest moment over his years appearing on the show. Harold Ford Jr didn’t buckle and reminded us that black men in a confrontation with police end up dead when others are taken alive. Many days on the show there is no black panelist to speak up. Today there happened to be one who didn’t let Joe and Mika go although they still are just as convinced of their views as before.
What Harold might have added, is that only white privilege would allow them to determine when and where racism exists for the rest of us. They decide for us that the systemic treatment and oppression of minorities isn’t racist if the officer or police chief is black. He might have brought up the times over the years that primarily Joe has raised the bar on what qualifies as racism to where almost nothing does. He could have mentioned the times the show has come up with other descriptors for racism; nationalism and American Exceptionalism, which allowed them to ignore the elephant in the room. But that really isn’t really Harold’s responsibility to call them out. It’s ours.
Morning Joe, I want you to do better. I want you to call out your guests and panelists when they make their pronouncements that allow your viewers to justify their racism by naming it something else. I want you to recognize the racism behind Voter ID Laws and to acknowledge that since voter fraud isn’t a significant thing, what they are trying to attack is something else. I want you to start by acknowledging your own privilege and asking yourselves, “How can I do better?”
You might take comfort that you’re not as bad as “Fox & Friends,” or Sean Hannity. But you’re as bad as Morning Joe and have a lot you can work on.