Melissa Harris-Perry in "Black Female Voices: A public dialogue between bell hooks and Melissa Harris-Perry"

On Sunday, MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry doubled down on her apology to the Romneys for using their family photo in a segment of her "Look Back In Laughter" episode, which aired at the end of last month.

In his defense of Harris-Perry (catch up on the entire brouhaha here), the Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates referred to her as "America's foremost public intellectual." Politico's Dylan Byers seems to disagree:

Byers was quickly asked to explain his tweet, and to offer up the names of intellectuals he deems worthy of that distinction. His suggestions were all white men, and one dead white woman:

And then there's this:

So Byers is entirely sure that there is such a thing as "America's foremost intellectiual," but he's confident that Harris-Perry doesn't fit the bill. Why? Well, we could ask why, why, and delve deep into a conversation about racism, sexism and a history of the dismissal of black women and their intellectual contributions. But let Byers tell it, and Coates' put his credibility (!) on the line by vouching for Harris-Perry because she's a weekend host at MSNBC.


(Side note: It's curious that Byers wants to strip Coates—who has quite the record of lending brilliant thinking to nearly everything important that happens in this country—of his credibility, just because he co-signed MHP as important and indispensable.)

Except that Harris-Perry is not just that. She's an author, professor, political scientist and, yes, a public intellectual. (For fun, I'll leave this conversation between Harris-Perry and bell hooks here.)


But, what better way to straighten out the misinformed than with a hilarious hashtag? Jelani Cobb started #PoliticosBlackIntellectuals, which reworks the titles of black history's most famous folks to poke fun at Byers' gross under-description of Harris-Perry's career. Read these and learn you something today.

Also, shouts to #Nerdland. They go hard.

Akoto Ofori-Atta is the editor of The Grapevine. Like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.


If you want to see what's hot on black Twitter, check out The Chatterati.Akoto Ofori-Atta is the editor of The Grapevine. Like her Facebook page and follow her on Twitter.