MSNBC Contributor Talks of 'Structural Racism' and 'Racially Biased' Criminal Justice System

Remember all that talk about a post-racial society if Barack Obama was elected president?

On the Martin Bashir show Monday, the host introduced Lehigh Professor James Peterson as a new MSNBC contributor, and virtually the first words out of Peterson's mouth were, "structural racism," "structural inequality," and "an over-aggressive criminal justice system that is racially biased" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

JAMES PETERSON, MSNBC CONTRIBUTOR: Now obviously, single parenthood is not special to the black community. There's single parenthood in all different communities across America, but the stakes are higher in the black community because of things like structural racism and structural inequality, because of the challenges around education, because of an over-aggressive criminal justice system that is racially biased.

And so there are a lot of other factors that the president didn't necessarily mention there, but we have to understand this thing fairly wholistically. He's there talking about better wrap around services in preschool and sort of promised zone initiative. But also he’s saying to folk, “Listen, we need adults to step up and be present if and when they can in these communities because that is one of the number one ways to address the kind of gun violence that we're seeing in our inner-cities.”

MARTIN BASHIR, HOST: So, Professor, do you feel he was singling out black men in that speech on Friday?

PETERSON: I think it's complicated, Martin. I think, I think, again, parenthood or fatherlessness is not peculiar to the black community, but the stakes are higher in the black community. And so if you just say that in a sort of strict absolute sense, it might seem like the president is a little bit misdirected, but saying in the context of the initiatives he's trying to bring to the table here, I think it's very, very important.

And listen, at the end of the day, we do know that we need fathers and parents to step up in the communities that need it most. It may hurt for people to hear that, but at the end of the day, that is an important factor in all these other things: background checks, second round gun sales, all the gun stuff is important, education is important, understanding the role of the criminal justice system and the prison industrial complex. It's very complicated, Martin. So it's not as just simples as sort of picking one factor out of the scores of factors that contribute to the kind of challenges we see in the inner-city every day.


So much for a post-racial society. It seems like we're still in the '50s.

Of course, it makes you wonder if Americans would have known all this racism real or imagined was going to exist four years after Obama was elected, would they have voted for him in the first place?

As for Peterson, this kind of talk is going to fit in quite well with all the other race-baiting at MSNBC.

He'll certainly be a welcome addition.

Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard
Noel Sheppard, Associate Editor of NewsBusters, passed away in March of 2014.