In an episode of All In With Chris Hayes that airs on MSNBC, there were two guests discussing the whole Race Together campaign launched by Howard Schultz, the CEO of Starbucks in partnership with USA Today. While that campaign deserves it’s own Side Eye Report, I’m here to discuss what happened on the show between Nancy Giles and Jay Smooth.
Let’s start with the video clip:
She tried it. She tried him with her intellectualized shade. Then he shut her down because she clearly doesn’t know his life in spite of her tweeting otherwise (after the fact, might I add).
The backpedaling must stop! If she knew he was black, she wouldn’t have referred to the way he spoke as a “brother way” of speaking. Then she tries to turn that into a segue on the importance of discussing race until he pauses her whole plan by informing her that he’s black. He wouldn’t have felt the need to say that if she wasn’t questioning his blackness. But she should have owned it. He’s a very fair skinned black person. I’m sure he’s mistaken for other races quite often which could explain why he was so quick to correct her. He is clearly a proud black man (respect!), but he knows that his complexion may confuse some folks.
The part that makes this worthy of the side eye is that she tries to cover it up by making mention of her being accused of talking white and therefore acting white in spite of her being brown skinned. That does not make her gaffe any better. In fact, it makes the gaffe much worse in my opinion.
I would have preferred that she owned her mistake, apologized then moved on. She could have made mention of her mistake being yet another reason why conversations about race are so important, especially since she was speaking on the side of supporting the idea of the Race Together campaign and having more conversations about race. But she didn’t do that and it made a cringe worthy situation even more uncomfortable.
Here’s the whole segment:
What do you think? Is this worthy of the side eye?