Saturday, July 24, 2010
This week's strange and convoluted tale of black Agricultural Department official, Shirley Sherrod, proves that America is no longer "a nation of cowards on matters of race," as Eric Holder famously proclaimed. Instead, America is now a nation of idiots on matters of race.
A videoclip of Ms. Sherrod had surfaced on the Internet in which she said she gave less help to a white farmer than she would have given a black farmer. The video went viral, with many on the Right claiming it was proof of reverse discrimination.
Not wanting to be on the wrong side of the issues yet again (as with the New Black Panther / voter intimidation case), the NAACP declared that Ms. Sherrod was a racist, and high government officials (as high as the Whitehouse, maybe?) demanded Ms. Sherrod's immediate firing...without letting her tell her side of the story. And so she got the axe.
Which is when she was able to point out that the incident she was talking about happened 24 years ago...and that if anyone had taken the time to watch the whole video of her speech, they'd have seen that she said it was wrong to discriminate against anyone, black or white, and that she learned her lesson and did everything possible thereafter to help the white farmer (whose family, even today, credits Ms. Sherrod with helping save their farm).
So the NAACP declared they'd been "snookered" and apologized, and the Whitehouse said Ms. Sherrod should be reinstated to her job...but as of this writing she isn't sure she even wants it anymore. And everyone involved is still running around screaming, pointing fingers, looking for someone to accuse of racism, and hopefully they'll all melt into butter.
The moral of this sad, stupid story is that people should get full, accurate information before jumping to conclusions...let alone firing anyone over unfounded accusations of racism.
But on the positive side, there is one clarifying insight which has emerged from this foolishness. In the NAACP's initial attack on Sherrod, they declared "Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race."
And so the NAACP concedes that it is racism if a black person is empowered to mistreat someone, and does so because the victim is white.
For instance, if an empowered black Attorney General refuses to prosecute Black Panthers for voter intimidation because the victims were white.
Or if an empowered black president admits "not having all the facts," but declares a policeman to have "acted stupidly" because he was white.
And hopefully, someday, we can all quit running in circles and talk about it.