MSNBC host Joy Reid has made a career out of lobbing personal insults at anyone whose political views do not align with hers. It is also entirely fair to point out that Reid frequently uses what can, at best, be described as racially insensitive language when discussing black conservatives and particularly elected black Republicans.
Not for the first time, the progressive TV host recently went after one of her favorite targets, South Carolina Senator Tim Scott (R). What did Scott do this time to provoke Reid into attacking him for the color of his skin? Well, he didn’t actually do anything other than appear on camera while Senator John Thune (R-SD) spoke to reporters about why Republicans opposed Democrats’ attempt to include a minimum wage hike provision in the COVID-19 relief bill.
Commenting on the aforementioned press conference, Reid mused that Scott was “standing there to provide the patina of diversity.”
Reiding Between the Lines
There is no mistaking what the outspoken host was getting at. The word patina has a couple of different definitions. Most accurately — according to Merriam Webster — it is “a usually green film formed naturally on copper and bronze by long exposure or artificially (as by acids).” Perhaps Reid was attempting to compliment the senator, since another Merriam Webster definition is “a surface appearance of something grown beautiful, especially with age or use.”
A third definition of patina from the same source is most likely the one Reid was thinking of when she mentioned the senator: “a superficial covering or exterior.” In fact, omit the “most likely,” since that is exactly what Reid was saying: that Scott’s only purpose is to provide the GOP with a superficial appearance of diversity.
Reading between the lines, then – and without committing the cardinal sin of taking Reid out of context – the inference is that Scott is in the Senate only because Republicans need a black senator in order to hide the fact that they are a bunch of racists. By extension, Reid is dismissing and diminishing Scott’s achievements, his intelligence, his hard work, and his very character.
It’s Time for a Reckoning on Race-Baiting
Does that make Reid a racist? Well, no, not really. That would be going too far (and not because of Reid’s racial heritage, since racism is a problem that infects all races). It would not be fair at all to describe Reid as a racist because, in truth, what she says in front of the camera is designed purely for effect. Reid’s tendency to indulge in racially divisive speech is about scoring political points against the right. In all likelihood, she believes very little of what comes out of her mouth as an MSNBC host.
Then again, Reid does have a documented history of personal views that can be fairly described as racist, so perhaps she does not deserve the benefit of the doubt after all.
The kind of rhetoric the host uses speaks more to her character. This is a woman who has no problem deceiving her audience for the sake of political one-upmanship. Reid is more concerned with saying what the progressive left wants people to believe than providing honest opinions and observations on a given subject.
While accusing Reid of being a racist might be beyond the pale – no pun intended – she certainly does indulge in racist language, at least according to the standards of the political left. Case in point: If, say, a Fox News host – even a black Fox News host — were to suggest that Joe Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris to be his VP was driven only by the desire to give the 2020 Democratic presidential ticket the patina of diversity, Reid would be among the first to demand, foaming at the mouth, that said host be fired.
The fundamental point is that an honest discussion about the progressive left’s casual use of racially insensitive language – and its apparent belief that black people have neither the right nor the ability to decide for themselves where their political allegiances lie – is long overdue. Reid, along with many of her colleagues in the left-wing media, should be held to account for the continued stirring of racial tension to advance a political agenda.
Read more from Graham J. Noble.