Posted on 11 January 2013.
MSNBC host and commentator Melissa Harris Perry surprisingly defended the lack of diversity in President Obama's second term cabinet in an appearance on the network this morning. Harris Perry says just because someone is of one gender and not the other or has a certain skin color doesn't mean they are representative of that specific group. Harris Perry cites Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as an example, who she says doesn't represent "the vast majority" of African-Americans.
MSNBC host and commentator Melissa Harris Perry says we should "be careful" when it comes to calling out the hypocrisy of President Obama for having a not so diverse cabinet. Perry says we don't want to "assume that any given physical body carries with it a set of political ideas."
Harris Perry names Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas as an example. Harris Perry says just because he is black it "does not mean Justice Thomas is representing necessarily the positions, the issues, even the Constitutional interpretation that is shared by the vast majority of civil rights organizations, by the vast majority of African-Americans."
Harris Perry: The optics are one piece of it of it. But, I think we want to be careful, because no one wants to assume that any given physical body carries with it a set of political ideas, so for example, you know, Clarence Thomas sitting on the Supreme Court of the United States does not mean that Justice Thomas is representing, necessarily, the positions, the issues, even the Constitutional interpretation that is shared by the vast majority of civil rights organizations and by the vast majority of African-Americans. Simply putting women in a space, for example, had Congresswoman Bachmann ended up as the president of the United States, she might not have been representative of women's issues in the broadest sense, because so many women are, in fact on the side of reproductive rights and justice. On the other hand, it also matters to have a diverse cabinet, to have a diverse set of opinions and ideas. My biggest concern is I worry that maybe the president has lessened his diversity, in part because he suspects it will cause less of a battle with the Senate process. But, I bet that it won't. These Republicans are so determined to stand in the way that it won't matter whether these are white men or black women. If they're coming from the president they're going to get resistance.
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