MSNBC Host on Zimmerman Verdict: ‘I Live in a Country That Makes Me Wish My Sons Away’

By Penny Starr | July 15, 2013 | 11:31 AM EDT

( -- MSNBC host Melissa Harris-Perry said on Sunday that the not-guilty verdict in the George Zimmerman trial confirmed her belief that black boys face unjust treatment in American society.    

“I will never forget the relief I felt — I’m a sexual assault survivor — and yet the relief I felt at my 20-week ultrasound when they told me it was a girl,” Harris-Perry said. “And last night I thought, I live in a country that makes me wish my sons away, makes me wish that they don’t exist because it’s not safe.”

Harris-Perry has one child, a daughter, who was born many years after Harris-Perry says she was sexually assaulted at the age of 14. (Last October, Harris-Perry sharply rebuked a Republican Senate candidate who said that even when pregnancy results from rape, "it is something that God intended to happen.”  "If a woman finds herself pregnant after a rape, we do not judge the choices she makes," Harris-Perry wrote in an open letter to Richard Mourdock.)

Harris-Perry made the remarks about "my sons" on a special edition of her show devoted to how parents of black children would explain the outcome of the Zimmerman case to their children.

A six-person jury found Zimmerman not guilty on Saturday in the death of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin, who was shot when the two scuffled in a Florida neighborhood on Feb. 26, 2012.

Harris-Perry has made it clear previously, that although she has a white mother and a black father, she considers herself black:

“I’ve never thought of myself as biracial,” Harris-Perry is quoted as saying in a January 2012 article. “I’m black.”