Melissa Harris-Perry, who apologized for a provocative segment on her MSNBC show about Mitt Romney’s adopted grandson, who is black, does not deserve to be fired as some critics have suggested.

Just let it go.

And here’s another thought: I question whether Harris-Perry actually needed to apologize in the first place.

After noting that both Alec Baldwin and Martin Bashir had recently left MSNBC in the wake of highly controversial comments, CNN’s Fredricka Whitfield said “some are calling for Melissa Harris-Perry to be fired.”

Not sure who “some” of the people are, but Harris-Perry, brilliant thinker and analyst should stay in her anchor chair.

Harris-Perry came under fire after joking about a photo of the Romney family while Romney held his black grandson on his knee. The panelists on Harris-Perry’s show joked about the baby being the only black person in the picture.

Comedian Dean Obeidallah said: “It sums up the diversity of the Republican Party and the [Republican National Committee], where they have the whole convention and they find the one black person.”

Harris-Perry said the baby is “gorgeous,” and she said she imagined what would happen if Kieran and North West got married and Mitt Romney and Kanye West were in-laws.

That’s an offense for which Harris-Perry should be fired?

I don’t think so.

Moreover, it was comedian Obeidallah who initiated the truthful and uncomfortable truth: That the Republican Party is overwhelmingly white and lacks racial diversity.

I believe Harris-Perry showed integrity by apologizing – and perhaps her superiors at MSNBC were relieved by her apology. But since Obeidallah made the joke, it really wasn’t incumbent on Harris-Perry to apologize for him.

But she did graciously apologize for her show.

“I am sorry. Without reservation or qualification. I apologize to the Romney family,” Harris-Perry said. “I work by the guiding principle that those who offend do not have the right to tell those they hurt that they [are] wrong for hurting. Therefore, while I meant no offense, I want to immediately apologize to the Romney family for hurting them. As a black child born into a large white Mormon family I feel familiarity w/ Romney family pic & never meant to suggest otherwise. I apologize to all families built on loving transracial adoptions who feel I degraded their lives or choices.”

“Whatever the intent, the segment proceeded in an unexpected way that was offensive,” she wrote. “Without reservation or qualification, I apologize to the Romney family and to all families built on loving transracial adoptions.”

I believe Harris-Perry’s apology was sincere.

Meanwhile, the underlying issue here is that Republicans have a serious diversity problem – and an ongoing racial insensitivity issue to acknowledge.

Where was the outrage from conservatives when Sen. Ted Cruz, speaking to a crowd in Houston, Texas earlier this year, took a
narrow-minded shot at President Obama’s struggling website launch for the Affordable Care Act and managed to insult black people on two continents.

“You may have noticed that all the Nigerian email scammers have become a lot less active lately,” Cruz told the audience. “They all have been hired to run the Obamacare website.”

By using “Nigerian” in his warped wisecrack, was Cruz deliberately trying to link Obama to scammers because Obama’s father is African? (Obama’s father is actually from Kenya, so perhaps Cruz also needs an Africa geography lesson.)

Or was Cruz trying to fire up his hate-filled conservative base by not-so-subtly introducing Obama’s African roots to the discussion of Obamacare, which Republicans are desperate to derail?

Cruz later explained that his ill-advised remark was simply a joke. And the GOP seemed satisfied with his explanation.

Meanwhile, for those who want Harris-Perry fired for joking about Romney, her apology may not have been necessary, but it was sincere.

And now it’s time to move on.

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