[Marxism] Shirley Sherrod - Thrown to the Wolves - Bob Herbert - NY Times
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Sun Jul 25 12:01:05 MDT 2010
> Op-Ed Columnist – NY Times Thrown to the Wolves By BOB HERBERT<http://topics.nytimes.com/top/opinion/editorialsandoped/oped/columnists/bobherbert/index.html?inline=nyt-per> Published:
> July 23, 2010
> The Shirley Sherrod story tells us so much about ourselves, and none of it
> is pretty. The most obvious and shameful fact is that the Obama
> administration, which runs from race issues the way thoroughbreds bolt from
> the starting gate, did not offer this woman anything resembling fair or
> respectful treatment before firing and publicly humiliating her.
> Moving with the swiftness of fanatics on a hanging jury, big shots in the
> administration and Bill O’Reilly of Fox News came to exactly the same
> conclusion: Shirley Sherrod had to go — immediately! No time for facts. No
> time for justice.
> What we have here is power run amok. Ms. Sherrod was not even called into
> an office to be fired face to face. She got the shocking news in her car.
> “They called me twice,” she told The Associated Press. “The last time, they
> asked me to pull over to the side of the road and submit my resignation on
> my BlackBerry, and that’s what I did.”
> This woman was thrown to the wolves without even the courtesy of a
> conversation. Her side of the story? The truth? The administration wasn’t
> And the blame for that falls squarely on the people at the very top in the
> White House. Why didn’t President Obama or Vice President Joe Biden or Rahm
> (call me Rahmbo) Emanuel, or somebody somewhere in the upper echelon say,
> “Hey, what the heck are you doing? You can’t fire a person without hearing
> her side of the story. This is not the Kremlin. Are you nuts?”
> And then, of course, there’s the media, and not just the wing nuts at Fox
> and the crazies in the right-wing blogosphere. A large segment of the
> mainstream crowd stampeded to condemn this woman solely on the basis of a
> grainy video clip, just two-and-a-half minutes long, that was trumpeted by a
> source whose track record should have set alarm bells ringing in the head of
> any responsible journalist.
> This sorry episode shows the extent to which we’ve lost sight of the most
> basic elements of fair play, responsible reporting and common decency in
> this society. And we’ve turned the race issue entirely on its head. While
> racial discrimination is overwhelmingly directed against black people in the
> U.S., much of the nation and the media are poised to go berserk over the
> most specious allegations of racism against whites. Even the N.A.A.C.P.
> rushed to condemn Ms. Sherrod, calling her actions “shameful,” without
> bothering to seek out the facts — which, incredibly, had unfolded at an
> N.A.A.C.P. event!
> Later, after officials at the organization had found and released a tape of
> Ms. Sherrod’s entire 45-minute speech, the group’s president, Ben Jealous,
> apologized and said the N.A.A.C.P. had been “snookered.”
> Black people are in a terrible condition right now — economically,
> socially, educationally and otherwise — and there is no effective champion
> fighting for their interests. Mr. Jealous and the new edition of the
> N.A.A.C.P. have shown in this episode that they are not ready for prime
> time, and President Obama seems reluctant to even utter the word black. Or
> poor, for that matter.
> We hear so much about the middle class, and it’s true that the middle class
> has suffered in this terrible recession. There’s a middle-class task force
> in the White House led by the vice president. But the people suffering most
> in this long economic tailspin are the poor and the black, and you don’t
> hear much about that.
> Which brings us to the most important part of the Shirley Sherrod story.
> The point that Ms. Sherrod was making as she talked in her speech about the
> white farmer who had come to her for help was that we are all being sold a
> tragic bill of goods by the powerful forces that insist on pitting blacks,
> whites and other ethnic groups against one another.
> Ms. Sherrod came to the realization, as she witnessed the plight of
> poverty-stricken white farmers in the South more than two decades ago, that
> the essential issue in this country “is really about those who have versus
> those who don’t.”
> She explained how the wealthier classes have benefited from whites and
> blacks constantly being at each other’s throats, and how rampant racism has
> insidiously kept so many struggling whites from recognizing those many
> things they and their families have in common with economically struggling
> blacks, Hispanics and so on.
> “It’s sad that we don’t have a roomful of whites and blacks here tonight,”
> she said, “because we have to overcome the divisions that we have.”
> There is no way we’ll overcome those divisions if people who should know
> better keep bowing before and kowtowing to the toxic agenda of those on the
> right whose overriding goal is to foment hostility and hate.
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