Awkward: MSNBC Panelist Assumes Jay Smooth Isn't Black During Race Discussion

They say when you assume you can often make an ass of yourself , and CBS's Nancy Giles did just that during an episode of All In With Chris Hayes when she didn't realize that fellow panelist Jay Smooth was black. 

Hayes and the panelists were discussing Starbucks’ #RaceTogether campaign where baristas are being encouraged to discuss race relations with customers.

Jay Smooth took the position that we’re only encouraged to talk about subjects that we have no real intention to fix. As an example, he pointed to the recent push to provide better services to America’s veterans. We didn’t have a conversation about it. A plan was created to address the lingering issues at the Veterans Administration, and now that plan is being executed. Giles disagreed with Smooth, recalling that she’s had some interesting conversations over coffee.

As part of the segment, Hayes showed a clip of Jay Smooth during one of his YouTube conversations on race, where hip hop was playing in the background. Giles then began to tease Jay for having “co-opted” blackness. Giles used hand gestures to poke fun at Jay about the “brotha way he was trying to talk” in the video.

“Yeah, I know, but it’s another interesting, funny thing about race. Like, there would be some people that feel that you co-opted something like that, and other people might feel like that’s his background and that’s really cool, too,” Giles joked, making fun of Jay Smooth for trying to act black.

Jay responded in a way that took all the air out of the point Giles was trying to make.

“It’s also interesting because I’m actually black, but you assumed otherwise,” Smooth replied. “And this is the sort of awkwardness that we can look forward to at Starbucks across America.”



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