Yesterday we noted that The Nation's Melissa Harris-Perry was accusing white liberals of abandoning President Obama for racially invidious reasons. This prompted a defensive and very long response from one white liberal, Joan Walsh, who began by stipulating that she and Harris-Perry are friends:When I say Melissa Harris-Perry is my friend, I don't say that rhetorically, or ironically; we are professional friends, we have socialized together; she has included me on political round tables; I like and respect her enormously. That's why I think it's important to engage her argument, and I've invited her to reply.I was taken aback that Walsh emphasized the extent of our friendship. Walsh and I have been professionally friendly. We've eaten a few meals. I invited her to speak at Princeton and I introduced her to my literary agent. We are not friends. Friendship is a deep and lasting relationship based on shared sacrifice and joys. We are not intimates in that way.
Take that, Joan! Note that Walsh and Harris-Perry are in agreement about the facts of their association, they disagree only over what to call it.
It seems to us that Walsh merely meant to suggest that she meant her criticisms of Harris-Perry in a spirit of goodwill. But Harris-Perry doesn't stop at renouncing friendship with Walsh. She accuses Walsh of employing a "common strategy of argument about one's racial innocence: the 'I have black friends' claim." Harris-Perry has twisted Walsh's olive branch into a racially invidious provocation. With friends like these . . .
See also white leftist woman Yves Smith's response at Naked Capitalism.