Remember the saying "I think, therefore I am?" Well, MSNBC weekend host Melissa Harris-Perry does, and she used it to defend Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren against claims that she is not really part Cherokee Indian.
A Democrat trying to unseat incumbent Republican Scott Brown in the November election, Warren received support on Saturday when Harris-Perry laughably stated: "If candidate Warren grew up thinking she is Native American by heritage, who are we to say she is not? And who are we to define based on narrow constructs of race?"
The host began the segment with the subtitle "Race for the Race" on the screen. She sarcastically stated: "We've moved beyond the definition and separation of race being inscribed into the law. Right. And race is no longer a construct placed on others by narrow and divisive societal notions. Right."
After telling her viewers to take off their rose-colored glasses and put on "the hermeneutic of suspicion," Harris-Perry turned her attention to the race between Warren and Brown
As evidence for her claim, the host said that the current situation reminds her of a scene from the Bruce Willis movie The Sixth Sense because some people are saying "I see indigenous people."
Noting that Warren's heritage has been scrutinized for months, the host displayed a picture of the Democratic candidate that showcased her blond hair and Caucasian complexion.
"Is that what an American Indian is supposed to look like?" she asked before cautioning her viewers to be "careful. The right answer is there is no answer."
Harris-Perry then stated that she believes people are confused about just what race is.
We think if she has one drop of Native American blood, she's Native American. If she doesn't, then she's not. But the fact is the people of Massachusetts may be giving all of us an invitation for a long-overdue discussion of race.
If a conversation about race relations is long overdue, it's not because Harris-Perry hasn't been trying to start one.
As NewsBusters reported in February, the host devoted much of her first program slamming the GOP and its record on race.
At one point, she showed footage of Republican presidential candidate Nelson Rockefeller from the 1964 Republican National Convention condemning "extremists" in the party. After a shot of a lone black audience member applauding the speech, she commented:
I love the last black Republican left in the party just clapping. "Yes, please repudiate them," right?
Then in June, she used a racially charged speech to claim that the events of 9/11 sent America into a "nationalist fervor" that resembled post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
Harris-Perry asserted that the attacks created a new version of what she believes America needs, a "racial enemy." Our new foe included Muslims, Arabs, Sikhs, "or something else."
With that in mind, one might think that the MSNBC host would applaud GOP presidential candidate speaking to the NAACP convention in July. One would be mistaken, since she then accused Romney of only attending to use negative audience reaction as "red meat to feed to his base."
Returning to the Massachusetts Senate race, recent polls show Warren, a Harvard Law School professor and a former official in President Obama's administration, with a slim lead over Brown, who swept into the Senate during a special election in 2010 after the death of longtime Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy.