Mike Rowe, former host of Discovery’s “Dirty Jobs” and current host of CNN’s “Somebody’s Gotta Do It” took to his Facebook Page to reply to recent comments made by MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry regarding the term “hard worker,” which she feels downplays the contribution of slaves when used to describe someone like new Speaker of the House Paul Ryan.
Responding to a reader’s question, Rowe initiates his lengthy response in saying, “There is no longer a limit to what people can be offended by.”
Throughout the post, Rowe dismantles Harris-Perry’s comparison by pointing out the extreme nature of the TV personality’s stance regarding hard work. The MSNBC correspondent stated last week that she keeps “an image of folks working in cotton fields on my office wall, because it is a reminder about what hard work looks like.”
In response, Rowe says, “That’s a bit like hanging images of rape and bondage to better illustrate the true nature of human sexuality.” Continuing with his argument, Rowe says that “slavery is not ‘hard work’; it’s forced labor.”
The big difference, he says, are that “slaves are not workers; they are by definition, property. They have no freedom, no hope, and no rights. Yes, they work hard, obviously. But there can be no ‘work ethic’ among slaves, because the slave has no choice in the matter.”
The stark contrast between a slave’s lack of freedom and the free will that American hard workers possess surfaces consistently throughout Rowe’s response. The CNN host goes on to discuss the picture he has hanging in his office which reminds him of what hard work means to him.
“That’s me, squatting next to the most disappointing toilet I’ve ever encountered, preparing to clean it out with a garden trowel. I keep it there to remind me of what happens when you need a plumber but can’t find one.”
His response to Harris-Perry’s comments may be passionate and personal, but Rowe ends his post with a light-hearted joke, saying, “It’s also a nice reminder that a good plumber these days has a hell of a lot more job security than the average news anchor. (With respect.)”