MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry interrupted a conversation on her show Saturday to rant about slavery and “relative privilege” after a guest used the word “hard worker” to describe Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan.
The bizarre tangent took place after conservative Latino activist Alfonso Aguilar praised Mr. Ryan as a potential replacement for House Speaker John Boehner.
“If there’s somebody who is a hard worker when he goes to Washington, it’s Paul Ryan,” he said, the Washington Free Beacon reported. “Not only works with the Republicans but Democrats. You know very well that I work on [the] immigration issue, trying to get Republicans to support immigration reform … This is somebody who’s trying to govern. He’s-“
Ms. Harris-Perry interrupted Mr. Aguilar mid-sentence to take issue with his use of the term “hard worker.”
“I just want to pause on one thing,” she said. “Because I don’t disagree with you that I actually think Mr. Ryan is a great choice for this role, but I want us to be super careful when we use the language ‘hard worker,’ because I actually keep an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like. So, I feel you that he’s a hard worker. I do.
“But in the context of relative privilege, and I just want to point out that when you talk about work-life balance and being a hard worker, the moms who don’t have health care who are working. But, we don’t call them hard workers. We call the failures. We call them people who are sucking off the system.”
Mr. Aguilar tried to protest, but Ms. Harris-Perry continued, “No, no. Really, you all do. That is really what you guys do as a party.”
“That is very unfair,” Mr. Aguilar said. “I think we cannot generalize about the Republican Party.”
“That’s true. Not all Republicans,” Ms. Harris-Perry relented.