MSNBC’s Roberts on Zimmerman Verdict: ‘There’s a Lot of White Shame Today’

In the wake of the jury’s "not guilty" verdict in the George Zimmerman second-degree murder trial, numerous voices in the liberal media have been railing against supposed racism in our justice system and American society in general. But for MSNBC anchor Thomas Roberts, the verdict is not merely a message about race relations in America; it is a commentary on the status of all Americans who are different.

Filling in as host on Sunday’s Weekends with Alex Witt, Roberts, an openly gay white anchor, was moderating a discussion of the Zimmerman case when he decided to jump in with commentary of his own. Addressing colleague Melissa Harris-Perry, who hosts a weekend program on the network and who happens to be black, Roberts declared, “I'll say it, honestly, there's a lot of white shame today.


Having said that, Roberts tried to pile more shame onto his fellow white Americans: “And while we look at lady justice and she's supposed to be blind, it’s like, what are we saying about the life of this kid being disposable?”

Of course, Trayvon Martin’s life was not disposable. A jury simply could not find enough evidence to convict George Zimmerman of either second-degree murder or manslaughter. Roberts’ rhetorical question sounds like it comes from the “society doesn’t care about black people” school of thought.

The host then expanded the conversation beyond race to make it about every American who is different, or an "other." Roberts bemoaned what he called the “otherness factor” that made Zimmerman suspicious of Martin. He issued a dire warning to Americans who belong to minority groups:

 

"[I]f you're an ‘other’ out there, be worried. And this means not just black. If you're LGBT, if you’re Hispanic, if you're different, it's an ‘otherness’ factor. And there's a privilege that goes into a certain mindset in this country, and if you're different, then you're bad."
 

It seems funny that Roberts should mention Hispanics as "others" when Zimmerman, the acquitted in this case, was himself a Hispanic (his mother is Peruvian). But it’s not surprising to see him try to tie homosexuals to blacks in the “persecuted minority” category, considering that Roberts is a notable homosexual. This feels like yet another push for the identity politics that liberals love so much and which is MSNBC's bread and butter of late.

Below is a transcript of the rant:

THOMAS ROBERTS: One thing that Robert Zimmerman also said on another network, that this basically exonerates his brother. And that means that he’s free of blame and any responsibility. I think that is false and very cold. And Melissa, the other thing that I want to talk to you about today, and I've been getting this from family, loved ones, all the people in my life and through social media, and I'll say it, honestly, there's a lot of white shame today. That this has gone on and that this is now dredging up a lot of realities in this country that we are not talking about and then this happens. And while we look at lady justice and she's supposed to be blind, it’s like, what are we saying about the life of this kid being disposable? And there's this ‘otherness’ factor going on. He was an ‘other’ and he was suspicious and he's walking while black and he's an other. And meanwhile, if you're an other out there, be worried. And this means not just black. If you're LGBT, if you’re Hispanic, if you're different, it's an otherness factor. And there's a privilege that goes into a certain mindset in this country, and if you're different, then you're bad.

Paul Bremmer
Paul Bremmer is a Media Research Center News Analysis Division intern.