The Frame Up of Shirley Sherrod
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) should have been ready for anything, any fallout or reaction engendered by their resolution last Tuesday asking members of the Tea Party movement to get rid of the racists within their ranks. It was bound to happen, because these people do not want to back off from their statements, slurs, and half-truths, aided and abetted the likes of ace liars Fox News and other conservative to right-wing elements. To them the only racists are blacks and people of color who object to being the subjects of racism.
Immediately after the resolution made headlines, Tea Party Express leader Mark Williams was swiftly kicked out of the organization over the weekend after publishing a mock petition to President Lincoln from the “colored people.” This upped the ante.
Monday, Shirley Sherrod, a director of rural development for the Department of Agriculture in Georgia, was forced by Secretary Tom Vilsack to resign over statements that she did not say, when she was not even employed by the Department, in a grainy, barely audible video about an incident that occurred over 24 years ago and now appears to have been doctored. The NAACP, Secretary Vilsack and the Obama Administration look not only bad for taking the word of unreliable instigators Fox News and Andrew Breitbart over Mrs. Sherrod over what occurred. They all look absolutely cowardly in not standing up to what is looking more and more like a tit-for-tat revenge scenario.
Tonight, while the NAACP has retracted its original statements castigating Mrs. Sherrod and has sheepishly come to her defense, Secretary Vilsack is “standing by his decision”–the usual euphemistic statement for someone who realizes that he’s overreached and badly, and that the only thing he has left is his meatball, assholish decision. The White House is now emphatically denying her charge that administration officials wanted her head on a platter, and seems to be inching away from Vilsack.
Breitbart, for his part, is now calling the white farmer and his wife who Mrs. Sherrod assisted, plants. Glenn Beck is also riding the wrong horse again. Goebbels would be proud.
The segment in question starts at 16:30 and goes for about five minutes. “You know,” she starts, “God will show you things, and can put things in your path, so that you realize that the struggle is really about poor people.” Then, after telling the story of Roger Spooner, she ends with this: “Working with him made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who don’t. And they could be black, they could be white, they could be Hispanic.”
Tim Wise made the connection between Shirley Sherrod and the New Black Panther Party controversy and the irrational fears of the right-wing conservatives about race and the perceived slide of power and privilege away from them That’s right. Irrational as in hysterical. It’s a good read, and culminates in this:
The pattern is familiar. In every generation whites have hyped fears of black anger, black bigotry and the supposed desire of African Americans to exact revenge on whites. From fears about slave rebellions, to claims that integration would lead black children to knife white children in the hallways and rape white girls, to paranoia about Obama’s secret plan for “white slavery,” the cult of white victimhood has long had its charter members. Sadly, nowadays the cult has the attention of the media and a white public already anxious about changing demographics, the presence of a black president and economic insecurity. Unless the targets of their race-baiting (including the President) show the courage to push back and expose them for the venal fear-pimps they are, their methods will only get more extreme, their lies more bold, and their ability to inflict lasting damage on the nation more definitive.