At the time this story first started buzzing in the morning, I reserved comment. I wanted to get Sherrod’s side of the story first and the larger context of her remarks. From the soundbyte I had seen — which was the footage that first went viral after conservative media put it out there– Sherrod’s tone and the context clues indicated to me that she was trying to express the opposite of what was being alleged against her in conservative media and elsewhere. But, I wasn’t 100% sure so I waited.
The facts have come to light and not only was Sherrod trying to say something profound about everyone overcoming their biases and helping all people in need, but what Sherrod “admitted” to was from 24 years ago (which she was relating as an experience that taught her that lesson about overcoming biases and helping everyone.) She was not even talking about something she did while working for the federal government.
By now, I’m sure a lot of you have heard that the NAACP has apologized to Sherrod.
Sherrod did not fall on a sword, let alone a sword of her own making. She was forced onto a sword manufactured by:
*lack of professionalism on the part of the NAACP in vetting the charge before reacting
*a wimpy and/or self-serving White House, in a hypercharged and poisoned political environment.
It is a sad thing what happened to Shirley Sherrod. It is also a domino effect that is rooted in our nation’s history of racism and other forms of discrimination as well as in the poisoning that resulted from that history when race-baiting was done during the Democratic primaries for the purpose of getting Obama-the-closet-conservative elected– the same Obama whose WH now subsequently jumps whenever Fox says jump!!! (Boycott Glenn Beck, Glenn Beck goes on a commie witchhunt — instead of the WH fighting it, it’s Buh bye Van Jones. Sarah Palin’s facebook says death panels? Senate Finance cmte. says Buh bye to the end-of-life-counseling provision!)
It’s so opportunistic and upside-down. Not only are the real victims of racism often getting ignored or overshadowed or told to shut up because of the so-called “post-racial” era of Obama, while the wrong people are getting called racist to deflect from scrutiny of Obama, but it also does such a huge disservice to true advocates who work so hard to responsibly and thoughtfully fight discrimination and help minorities, women, the working class, etc.
The only reason Sherrod should have not had said what she said is the practical reason: her job is not safe in a political environment like this. Plus she’s a woman and a minority. She’s not as likely to keep her job as Joe “Obama is so clean and articulate” Biden and Harry “light skinned and optional Negro dialect” Reid. Nope, it is not safe to say what she said in today’s ugly political environment… but not because she’s wrong to have said it. What she said was brave.
The charge of racism has been both diluted and perverted: The race-baiters will only use race to prop up sacred cows, be it through the means of the vile Southern Strategy or by using the charge of racism opportunistically to shut down legitimate dissent.
All the rest of us who aren’t sacred cows are here under the bus. We’re called racists even though we’re not. We’re the victims of racism and other forms of discrimination while the gatekeepers of what is civil and okay to say look the other way. (I was sickened and distrubed to see supposed “progressives” on progressive blogs commenting as if Nikki Haley “deserved” the raghead slur against her and the sexual/slut innuendo and bogus affair allegations, saying she deserved everything she was getting because of the conservative company she keeps. As an Indian American liberal woman, it absolutely broke my heart.)
The NAACP opened up this can of worms by passing that “resolution” calling the Tea Party racist. IMHO not a good plan. Not well thought out. For one thing, it further alienates disaffected voters who this tactic no longer works on but could still be won back to the Democrats if only they would behave like Democrats and pass a real Democratic agenda. Moreover, it OBVIOUS the right-wing haterade would go on a witchhunt in response to this resolution tactic. I saw it coming 10,000 miles away. This is what the inhabitants of Glenn Beckistan do. It’s their pattern. It’s counterproductive and ineffective to fight them with “boycotts” and “resolutions” that will never actually shut them up. You boycott MSNBC or something, you might actually get an apology once in awhile. You won’t get one from the rightwingers, you’ll get an angry army trying to do tit for tat. So even more importantly if you’re going to persist in doing these boycotts and resolutions, you have to be effing prepared for going into the battle that comes with that territory. You don’t blink at the first sign of backlash and force Shirley Sherrod to resign when Breitbart and Fox tell you she has to go! Especially without even watching the video of Sherrod’s remarks in its entirety, as the NAACP now claims it didn’t in its apology to Sherrod.
To protect ourselves from being the subject of racism or falsely called racist, we must hold back on honest, mature, real, studied, and illuminating discourse on race or have the thick rhinoceros hide and/or economic stability to be unpopular and say the unpopular things.
The race-baiters have diluted and perverted the charge of racism so much that Sherrod was forced to resign when really it is the NAACP, Fox News, Breitbart, Vilsack/WH, and the USDA who all “acted stupidly” and owe Shirley Sherrod a huge apology. She deserves her job back.
Full video of Sherrod’s remarks posted by the NAACP:
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