So this is the outcome of the NAACP's resolution urging the TEA Party to rid its ranks of racists?
First the TEA Party Federation boots out TEA Party Express spokesman Mark Williams, for a racially offensive satire of black people. First: I didn't know there were TEA Party factions. Second: while racially offensive Williams probably should have been expelled for idiocy. However, it's hard to argue, whether because of political pressure/public opinion purposes, or simply because it was the right thing to do...the TEA Party took rather decisive action.
Good for them.
Next, Shirley Sherrod, a Georgia U.S. Department of Agriculture executive is fired (or resigns), because nearly 25 years ago, at an NAACP event, she relates an experience in which she transparently states her reluctance to help a white farmer because of his 'superior attitude'.
Obviously offended because, in her mind, the white farmer in need of help, showed a lack of regard toward a black woman, in position to help him, she didn't go 'all out' to help him. She, in her words, "...did enough..."
She goes on to say, that she took him to a white lawyer who had been to training in recently enacted Chapter 12 bankruptcy laws for farms. The inference being that since the farmer was trying to assert his superiority, she took him to a white lawyer whom he of whom he would be more accepting. The white lawyer (as we find out in other reporting) wasn't helpful. And Sherrod goes on to say, in the video in question, that this opened up her eyes...that the issue wasn't just about race, it was about the haves vs. the have nots.
Here's the video...
The NAACP, in its rush to be 'fair and balanced' in its denunciations condemns Sherrod for her 'racism'.
"The NAACP, which released a statement Monday critical of Sherrod, backtracked Tuesday, saying they were "snookered" by Andrew Breitbart, whose website biggovernment.com released the edited video. Breitbart did not respond to a request seeking comment."
""Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans," NAACP President Ben Jealous said in a statement. "The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed. This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.""
"Jealous asked the USDA to reconsider Sherrod's dismissal but, in a statement, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack stood by his decision."
""First, for the past 18 months, we have been working to turn the page on the sordid civil rights record at USDA and this controversy could make it more difficult to move forward on correcting injustices," Vilsack said. "Second, state rural development directors make many decisions and are often called to use their discretion. The controversy surrounding her comments would create situations where her decisions, rightly or wrongly, would be called into question making it difficult for her to bring jobs to Georgia.""
Mind you, Sherrod is relating an incident that took place 24 years ago. And mind you, she's talking about the enlightenment that she received - then - not later, that caused her to re-examine her personal umbrage and later do all that she could do to help the white farmer and his wife. How do we know this?
"Sherrod "kept us out of bankruptcy," said Eloise Spooner, 82. She and her husband Roger Sooner, who own a farm in Iron City, located in southwest Georgia, approached Sherrod in 1986 -- when she worked with the Georgia field office for the Federation of Southern Cooperative/Land Assistance Fund -- seeking assistance."..."
"...Spooner, who considers Sherrod a "friend for life," said the federal official worked tirelessly to help the Iron City couple hold onto their land as they faced bankruptcy back in 1986."
""Her husband told her, ‘You're spending more time with the Spooners than you are with me,' " Spooner told the AJC [Atlanta Journal Constitution]. "She took probably two or three trips with us to Albany just to help us out.""
"Spooner spoke to her friend by phone Tuesday morning."
""She's very sad about it," Spooner said. "She told me she was so glad we talked. I just can't believe this is happening to her.""
""If it hadn't been for her, we would've never known who to see or what to do," he said. "She led us right to our success.""
"Spooner's wife, Eloise, remembered Sherrod as "nice-mannered, thoughtful, friendly; a good person.""
"She said that when she saw the story of the tape and Sherrod's resignation on television, "I said, 'That ain't right. They have not treated her right.' ""
There's something terribly ridiculous about this.
In the first place, there are the intimidating tactics of whites who don't like being called racists, while pursuing or being supportive of racists ends, who try and accuse blacks and other minorities of racism at the very mention of racial injustice. In other words, it is racist to bring up racism.
And so a tape, edited just right, to prove that the NAACP countenances 'racists' in their midst, so that it can be shown that the NAACP is hypercritical in its charges that the TEA Party tolerates, if not supports, racists in their midst.
Then there is the NAACP, in a rush to be 'fair' seeking to quash any such criticism, condemns Sherrod...without seeing the whole tape! We have a clip of a portion of a speech, cut off virtually in mid-sentence. Did anyone, think to say, 'We need to see more than this before we comment?'
And there is the Department of Agriculture which acts, according to Tom Vilsack, purportedly without the White House's instruction or urging, forcing Shirley Sherrod to 'resign'. To pull over in the car, as a matter of fact, and resign with a message from her Blackberry, telling her that these are orders from the White House.
I can see how it might have happened...
Is it possible, that Shirley Sherrod 24 years ago, had a visceral reaction of resentment to some word, some expression, some phrase of Roger Spooner and interpreted as his considering himself to be racially superior. Of course it is. Can African-Americans be overly sensitive to racism in white people? The answer is undeniably yes. I've done it. I've had friends who have done it. There are more than a few times when we have to 'check' one another to counter the over reaction. Times when we remind ourselves and one another that some people are jerks, because they are jerks. Or sometimes when we remind ourselves that either we or they are having a bad day. And times when it is racism that actually is better left ignored. Was this what Sherrod experienced in her initial encounter with the Spooners - I think that can be argued.
But what about the NAACP? It's one of the problems that I tend to have with the organization. They were right, to call for the TEA Party to disavow, disassociate their movements from the racists they say are around their 'fringes'. There are no, alternative explanations for signs using the word 'nigger' or comparing Obama to Hitler and using other racists slurs or imagery. These people are not 'misguided' or 'ill informed' or 'having a bad day' and being 'afraid' or 'angry' are worn out excuses.
But the NAACP should stop trying to find ways to be apologetic. They did not call the TEA Party racists. They should not back off of their resolution (in fact it makes no sense to call a press conference about the resolution and not release the full text of it). And it makes no sense to continue to try and prove that counter charges of racism are not true. The NAACP has, for nearly all of its 101 years endured criticism from some black people that it is too inclusive! It was founded by black and white people. Any NAACP gathering looks far, far, far more like America than any TEA Party gathering I've seen to date. So, please, stop apologizing!
And the Obama administration needs to stop running from race. I don't think that there is a sane, rational, thinking (how many ways can I say the same thing?) person, knows that this administration is bending over backwards to appear racially impartial. It's the right thing to do. But Barack Obama is the first black President of the United States. You can't hide it. Trying to be so fair, that you become overly sensitive to the prospect that one of government employees might have referred to a racially intolerant attitude that she held in an encounter 24 years ago, is not the same thing as Robert Byrd having been a member of the Ku Klux Klan, voting against
Civil Rights. As wrong as Shirley Sherrod's reflexive resentment may have been, and as insistent as those who love to believe that racism is a figment of collective minority imagination, it is and has been real for a very long time.
By the way - maybe we should see the entire speech...
Pretty incendiary, huh? Of course it is...she mentioned 'race' and 'racism'...