Wednesday, July 21, 2010



It is still pretty hot but when the story of Shirley Sherrod's seemingly inflammatory speech at a NAACP function first broke, I wanted to see exactly what was said to get the entire context of what she said. After all, she spoke at a banquet specific to the state where she was born and it seemed doubtful to me that she would have said anything out of turn at that kind of gathering. Earlier this week, I had the lack of protest being levied at the New Black Panther Party and how voter intimidation cases were being addressed in the media. I distinctly remember how things were shaking out in Florida and in other places suspected of voter improprieties during the W. Bush (see, I respect the Bush the elder and don't like typing numbers, so '43' is always 'W' to me) Presidential elections. There was a big hue and cry about what did or did not happen from the liberal side of political world.

Anywho, the moment that many people feared, a black person in a high governmental position gets caught with saying something inflammatory and, possibly even racist, at a banquet under the imprimatur of the NAACP. So I was stunned when I heard that the group's President, Benjamin Jealous, was among the voices calling for Ms. Sherrod's dismissal.


It is hard to communicate the black experience here in America. The only group of people who experienced cultural assimilation similar to 'us' are the Native Americans, and theirs is the standard by which the struggles of any surviving people and culture should be judged. The thing is, when you have such an omnipresent social juggernaut as White America looming over everthing you do as a group, yours is the group that has to adjust and cope. Not that other ethnic cultures has not influenced White Culture, but minorities HAVE to make the adjustment because you guys are the 'straw that stirs the drink'. Not trying to 'guilt' or create any kind of issue, but that is the way it is.

In her story, Ms. Sherrod had explained how she had evolved and her story about the farmer was but one element that had help to shape and form her purpose as a government worker, a servant of the people. ALL people. But it was couched in a way that connected her to the people she was speaking, full or references to Georgia, where she was from and other things that while non-threatening, would have a person who was not 'part of the club', confused by the alliterative meanings that was a part of her speech. She certainly didn't mean anything that I think Andrew Breithart wanted people to believe.

But the 'cut' by the NAACP President who spoke in hasty judgement reminded me of how things get so twisted to where the people who you would think know you better than a third-party who claims you have done something uncharacteristic, would and that they would be the first to your defense. That has been the most disappointing thing about the affair and that is where I am going to end my observations.


Beth said...

Let this be a lesson to all writers, whether professional or those of us who just like to dabble...try to find the full story. Don't accept partial information, be wary of sources, and try to be thorough.

I saw a story today that I almost posted, one that said that Sarah Palin would not be attending her daughter's marriage to Levi Johnston. I chose not to post it, because I don't trust PopEater as a highly trustworthy source. I was recently discussing another comment with a friend, in which Palin supposedly made a remark calling Obama "Sambo." Upon further checking, we found that it was reported by a waitress, there were no other witnesses, there was no audio or video. I despise Palin, but will not knowingly print lies about her.

It's called journalistic integrity, and we should see more, rather than less, of it.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I watched Shirley Sherrod's speech yesterday and I didn't find it offensive at all (honest . . but not offensive). At the end of the speech she even tells the audience what she learned from the experience. Not RACIST AT ALL!! It's a double-edged sword. If you speak the truth to be helpful and it's turned against you by leaders seeking power it's a damn shame.

Senorita said...

Whites are the group that stir the drink and everyone else has to assimilate ?

hahahahaha !

Sorry, but I live in California and life here is the exact opposite. Whites are the minority. Asians and Hispanics are the dominant forces. I understand what you mean, but it definitely does not ring true here in my state.

I would like to watch the tape or at least hear what Shirley Sherrod said because there are so many different points of view that I can't even begin to form my own without seeing it for myself.

Jonthy, Alice the uppity white cat's babysitter said...

I found this on the Huffington Post website today.

Shirley Sherrod, a Family Farmer's Friend,
By Willie Nelson

Shirley Sherrod has been a great friend to me, Farm Aid and family farmers for 25 years. She has always worked to improve economic opportunities for family farmers in the South, going back to when I first met her as the director of the Georgia Field Office for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund. Like Ms. Sherrod herself has said, she's always tried to help those who don't have so that they can have a little more.

The real story of Shirley Sherrod deserved to be told a long time ago. She has had an amazing impact on the lives and livelihoods of hundreds of families and communities throughout the South. Farmers of every race have struggled with the income inequities that have persisted for generations, and advocates like Ms. Sherrod have moved mountains to ensure that families can remain in their homes and on their farms.

While all family farmers in our country face an uphill battle to stay on their land, growing good food for rest of us, black farmers have lost their land at an alarming rate, faster than any other family farmers. Lending discrimination and inequities in agriculture programs are largely responsible for the shrinking number of black farmers. Farm Aid began supporting the Federation in 1985, where Shirley worked at the time, because of the group's unique ability to reach out and help struggling farm families in the South. Many had owned their land for generations and were, and continue to be, under constant threat. We continue to support the Federation's work to this day, and hundreds of farmers are still on their land because of Ms. Sherrod's efforts.

During her time at the Federation, she fought to make sure that family farmers got what they needed to stay on their land. She has been a national leader for family farmers and a compassionate, courageous advocate for all struggling family farmers. Shirley Sherrod has dedicated her life to working on behalf of family farmers, civil rights and the alleviation of poverty and it's up to Secretary Vilsack to right this wrong immediately.

This country desperately needs more farm advocates with Ms. Sherrod's expertise. But this is not just about a job -- it's about ensuring that Shirley Sherrod has the opportunity to continue to support family farmers and the rural poor, something she has spent her life doing.

Kathleen Scott said...

Ms. Sherrod got screwed. I hope the guy who wielded the hatchet gets some of his own medicine.

Bucko (a.k.a., Ken) said...

As our country continues to become more diverse, and whites become the minority, I fear that they will become more fearful and grasp to power with their last gasp. It will be a wild ride for the next 10-20 years.