Thursday, March 20, 2014

Melissa Harris-Perry: What would you say to Lucia McBath?

I see that Melissa Harris-Perry has picked up on Ta-Nehisi Coates' suggestion that there is no difference between the words of Rep. Paul Ryan and President Obama. Because both writers brought up Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis, I was reminded of a conversation Coates had with Davis' mother, Lucia McBath. It's almost hard not to wince when he recounts her saying this:
"We always encouraged him to be strong. To speak out," McBath told me. "We tried to teach him to speak what you feel and think diplomatically."

She took a moment here. Her voice quavered but held. She said, "Even in that case with Jordan and the car, I think that he was not as diplomatic as he could be. That does not let Michael Dunn off the hook," McBath told me. "But I say to myself as a mother, 'I didn’t teach you and train you to do that. Adults are adults and you are still a child.'"
Can you believe that the mother of a son who has been gunned down needlessly said something like that? Its almost beyond imagination.

But as silly people talk these days about which leaders are strong and which one's are weak, I'm here to tell you that NOTHING says strength to me more than those words from Lucia McBath. She knows without a doubt who is responsible for the death of her son - Michael Dunn. But she is also able to look inside herself and think about whether or not she - as a mother - did all she could to teach her son how to deal with conflict diplomatically.

In other words, holding Dunn responsible doesn't absolve her of the painful task of introspection. We can question the accuracy of her conclusions. But no one can question her resolve!

Basically these either/or frames from people like Coates and Harris-Perry who want to eliminate personal responsibility from the discussion take that kind of humanity out of the conversation. I have much more respect for Ms. McBath's [and President Obama's] ability to do the hard work of seeing the both/and.


  1. On this and many other matters, MHP behaves more like a queen bee who's full of herself, rather than as someone who sees the big picture.

  2. I find it unbelievably and strange that MHP and Coates would put anything that Obama has said in line with that of Paul Ryan. I'm sorry, but I really think two have lost their freakin' minds. Obama's words speak of the racial realities currently in this country. Ryan's words are racist dog whistles designed to encourage whites to vote against their economic best interests. How are they the same?

    *Shaking my head in disgust!*

    1. Coates expanded on his thoughts here:

      I think that will answer your question.