Tag: Melissa Harris-Perry

Testing the Melissa Harris-Perry Thesis

Remember when Melissa Harris-Perry claimed last year that white liberals were abandoning Obama because of their racism? She didn’t cite any polls at the time. But now we have the definitive poll. And what does it tell us about the Harris-Perry thesis? I couldn’t find exact data from yesterday’s election (the polls I’ve seen don’t do cross-tabulations by race and political ideology). But here’s what we’ve got so far: Obama won 86 percent of the liberal vote. The only other group that gave Obama a higher percentage of their vote were African Americans (93%). But ah, you might say, in 2008 Obama won 89 percent of the liberal vote. That 3 percent must have deserted him because of their racism. […]

Melissa Harris-Perry’s Non-Response Response to Her Critics

In a blog post, Melissa Harris-Perry has responded to her critics, of which I was one, though she doesn’t mention me. In fact, she doesn’t mention any of her critics, except for Joan Walsh, which makes her response as frustrating and elusive as her original article. Most of Harris-Perry’s post is a non-response response. One part, however, is noteworthy. In a lengthy discussion of the accusation that she didn’t prove her central charge, Harris-Perry manages to totally miss—or evade—the point. Harris-Perry seems to think that critics like myself were asking her to prove that white liberals who were jumping ship from Obama were motivated by racial animus. To this criticism, she quite rightly responds that it is often difficult to […]

Melissa Harris-Perry: Psychologist to the Stars

Wow, this piece from Melissa Harris-Perry is one of the more fact-free assessments of the relationship between Obama and the liberal-left that I’ve seen. Harris-Perry contends that “a more insidious form of racism” than the traditional kind may explain white liberal dissatisfaction with Obama. Where white liberals presumably gave the much less effective Clinton a pass in 1996, Harris-Perry anticipates a defection among those very same voters in 2012. Why? Because they’ll act on their alleged “tendency…to hold African-American leaders to a higher standard than their white counterparts.”  The next election, she claims, “may be a test of another form of electoral racism.” If old-fashioned electoral racism is the absolute unwillingness to vote for a black candidate, then liberal electoral […]