Since race still matters, these observations matter, too. And though it is not polite to express this kind of ambivalence about transracial adoption, you can best believe that a whole lot of black folks saw the picture and shook their heads. For good or ill, we care about the lives and livelihoods of little black boys. And we wonder what kind of man Kieran will grow up to be. We know that the lie we are being asked to believe is that the Romneys, despite their politics and religious affiliations, have transcended race so much that Kieran’s blackness is just an accident of birth.
Melissa and, by proxy, all of us who looked twice at the photo are being called into question because we refuse to follow the script of colorblindness and racial transcendence. We insist on asking what it means to be a black kid in a white family.
But here is the larger point: Trumped-up white outrage has material consequences for black people. Yet it is rarely rooted in anything real other than the perception of black and brown threat. That perception got Trayvon Martin and Renisha McBride and Jonathan Ferrell killed. It put Melissa Harris-Perry’s job in jeopardy. It has caused us to be less vigilant as a nation in making the playing field equal.
This is the height of cultural delusion: blaming the person on whose neck you’re standing for twisting your ankle. And this delusion has led to a fervent belief in false equivalences that makes white people feel like one-to-one racial comparisons are fair. For instance, they see Melissa Harris-Perry’s misstep as akin to the perpetual misstep that is Rush Limbaugh’s daily commentary. But to quote the song Pia Glenn sang that caused all this brouhaha, “One of these things is not like the others.”
This is just one more way that white supremacy wins. It exhausts people of color in battles over offenses that are in no way equal. It makes the mere perception of threat among whites equal to actual political threats to black welfare. Then, to add insult to injury, our mistakes cost us more. What costs white folks a slap on the wrist, or more often a mildly disapproving look, generally costs us a pound of flesh and more than an ounce of dignity.”
the whole article is worth a read and MHP was/is/will always be the best.