Melissa Harris-Perry | March 03, 2013
>>> when "the onion" tweeted about nominee quvenzhane wallis on oscar night they real he no excuse for not knowing they crossed the line because at the legendary amateur night at harlem's apollo theater that line had long ago been tehran in the sand or should i say the sand man. at the apollo a single sour net or poorly landed punch line would get a performer booed and swiftly tap danced off the stage by the legendary sandman simms. the only exception, the one that "the onion" forget kids are always off limits. we don't boot babies. that is the rule. little baby children walking around being extraordinary and just get to do that.
>> yeah. i think that's right, and part of the problem with "the onion's" tweet is quvenzhane wallis doesn't look like their babies. there's a great post on blackgirldangerous which i recommend all your viewers read which tends to say how white people view black children as small black adults, not children and they don't get the same kind of kind treatment that adult white people give to baby white children.
>> this is not a cultural question. this is a matter of public policy so in the context of enslavement, enslaved children did not have child hoods, they were workers and in the context of jim crowe little black babies were not allowed to sit at the front of the bus so when we think about what the social movements were about, they are about creating a world where the children did not have to experience that. i was in philadelphia on friday, and i just spoke with a woman whose name is laundra booker johnson, the founder of a company that makes hair products for african- american girls and i asked her about the tweet to see what a mom and entrepreneur would say. let's listen to that.
>> the quvenzhane issue is particularly painful because that tweet was a symbol for a perception that is i think not necessarily prevailing but it's okay to talk about little brown girls that way, and it is painful. it is physically painful.
>> that idea that it's physically painful. this is why we don't boot babies.
>> and her point is exactly what i said is that we -- we want to protect because we see so many times in our own communities because we do it to ourselves, we do it to our own kids and then society also does it to our kids.
>> so once we see someone sort of branch out and we just want them to be adorable and not have those pressures that the rest of the world puts on us as adults, right, as adults. we can take those on and even it gets heavy for us, but then to see a child have to suffer through that and still have no idea. she will have no idea and not be able to comprehend sort of what, you know, the loaded history that the "c" word contains, why it matters in terms of her race. she's not going to see any of that. we have to do that for her and prevent anybody from doing it again so anybody who is thinking about typing a tweet or any corporation deciding to do be a article or something about that before, since black women are the new, you know, it thing, they will know that they will get fire and get response from the new it community.
>> i am almost certain that the person that wrote this tweet has no idea of the history of that word and how it affects african- american girls and women. i'm sure to them it was just, hey, this is funny, you know. i'll tweet this. it was on for an hour, but the good thing is it did spur a discussion, and i think "the onion" does that, a satirical newspaper that's so far out, and we know it's a joke but some of the stuff really does facilitate a dialogue regarding things that we don't want to talk about.
>> i actually think "the onion" has been relatively responsible here.
>> i do, too.
>> they offered a real apology, not an i'm sorry, i'm sorry you were offended and this is epic, the new headline, a new study funds "the onion" has never been more respected or popular. thursday a straight real kind of apology and then when her recognizing about this. this is not beating up on "the onion," just someone where it's unacceptable that one would be ignorant of the conversation that we're having, the considered that you simply don't know it.
>> pia, i'll give you the last word on this section.
>> no, i agree. i don't ever begrudge anybody their innocent ignorance. if it truly is not your experience and you haven't encountered that, but if i tell you my experience, don't tell me i'm wrong, that i'm making it up or pulling it out of thin air or that i'm just looking to cause a problem because you create a world where my black choices as a black woman are to remain silent, or to be the angry black woman and i'm rolling my neck and i got problems and got things to say about it. my neck can stay still and this is very real, my dears.
>> so funny you say that. i was back and forth about whether to do this because i have been angry black woman it up all in the office, and, you know, i try to leave her my back pocket and not bring her to tv but this one was too much. stay there for me. up next, do i have a question for my feminist colleagues. where were you? max