If you don’t love Melissa Harris-Perry already, you just might now. During a segment on her Saturday morning news show on MSNBC, the Tulane University professor gave the best on-air shut down since Tamron Hall had to put a guest in his place back in May.
Things got heated during a discussion of welfare benefits when business and finance expert Mehta Rose said the big thing that was missing from President Obama’s “You didn’t build that speech” was an emphasis on taking risks. This is the point at which Melissa Harris-Perry exploded:
“What is riskier than living poor in America? Seriously! What in the world is riskier than being a poor person in America?
“I live in a neighborhood where people are shot on my street corner. I live in a neighborhood where people have to figure out how to get their kid into school because maybe it will be a good school and maybe it won’t.
“I am sick of the idea that being wealthy is risky. No. There is a huge safety net that whenever you fail will catch you and catch you and catch you. Being poor is what is risky. We have to create a safety net for poor people. And when we won’t, because they happen to look different from us, it is the pervasive ugliness.”
Please check the screen still at the 0:30-0:32 second mark. Mehta Rose’s face was priceless.
Unfortunately, it’s clear Rose missed the point when she continued to talk about what separates entrepreneurs from other smart people, which she said is using the ropes we all (theoretically) have access to. Then, in a debate with other panelists on who really creates jobs, entrepreneurs or consumers, Rose snarkily said “some of us go to Dairy Queen and others start businesses.”
Later in the show Professor Harris-Perry apologized for losing her temper, saying that it had been a particularly difficult week for her with losing her home in New Orleans due to Hurricane Isaac. I personally didn’t see temper as much as I saw passion. Harris-Perry’s reaction reminds me of words President Obama said in one of his speeches during the 2008 election season when he criticized the whole bootstraps philosophy, saying something to the effect of how can one pull himself up by the bootstraps if they don’t even have boots.
What do you think about this debate and Melissa Harris-Perry’s response?
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