An MSNBC panel exploded on Wednesday after Georgetown University professor Michael Eric Dyson accused conservative columnist Matt Lewis of deploying “white privilege” to “silence a black man” because he didn’t want to talk about race.
The tense exchange occurred after Dyson cited and seemingly agreed with Oprah Winfrey’s recent claim that, in many cases, opposition to President Barack Obama is due to the color of his skin. The panel was debating Obamacare and immigration reform when Dyson suddenly brought up race.
“It took ten minutes — ten minutes to get to the race issue,” Lewis interrupted.
After some heated crosstalk, Dyson told Lewis not to “deploy the very principles of white privilege to silence a black man on the panel because you don’t want to talk about race.”
“So be quiet!” Dyson added.
Outraged at his co-panelist’s accusation, Lewis asked host Martin Bashir if he would step in and call out Dyson over the remark. He did not get any support from the host.
“Matt…please allow professor Dyson to speak,” Bashir said.
“You can’t even talk about policy without bringing up race can you?” Lewis shot back.
Bashir again urged Lewis to let Dyson talk, but the explosive crosstalk continued.
“The vast majority of Republicans are mindless and incapable of articulating a solid, serious, intellectual conception, or a political fix or remedy to the problem we have here,” Dyson later argued, adding that “race plays a role in constantly contaminating the entire process.”
“This is a joke!” Lewis retorted.
Watch the exchange via MSNBC:
(H/T: Ben Howe)