Like the Anchoress (whom I quoted when I addressed the matter), I wanted to hear more before rendering judgment on (former) USDA official Shirley Sherrod before passing judgment. Once again, that blogress pretty much expresses my feelings on the matter:
In my post yesterday, I was pretty clear that the Breitbart tape wasn’t sitting well with me. Ms. Sherrod–still not a great speaker–clearly was on her way to relate a tale that indicted her own understanding, when that tape ended.
Then, she goes on to put the story in a larger context:
There is absolutely nothing simple about the matter of race in America; there is a ways to go before content of character will finally overcome color of skin. But I am not sure if further progress toward a truly color-blind society can be made until the manufactured cry of “raaaaacism”–by people who know that their are merely fanning flames or manipulating movements–has finally been rejected by both the right and the left. Race-baiters must be made to understand that their cheap tactic will no longer bear weight among fair-minded people, who are horrified by genuine racism but tired of its weaponized unreasonable facsimile.
In a nation that has come far enough to see African-Americans hold its highest offices, and wield enormous power–power given to them by people of all races and backgrounds, who can and will take it back at their own pleasure–the overplayed charge of “racism” among the chatterers is not only toxic, it is self-revelatory: it betrays their own tawdry cynicism, and their own racial fixations.
Read the whole thing. Via Instapundit who has a great roundup.
Our reader ILoveCapitalism makes a good point that the extended video reveals that she hasn’t let go of her groupthink mentality:
The full video Sherrod video has been released. She goes on to explain that she set aside her racial choice when she realized that poor whites were also being held down by The Man. (my phrase) Translation: when she traded her racism for Marxism. (I mean, like there’s a real difference. They’re both forms of collectivism: refusing to evaluate an individual on her merits, just seeing her as an appendage of the group.)
She may have treated the poor white farmers with dignity, but would she have treated more well-to-do farmers with respect if they had come to her office seeking redress of some grievance related to government regulation? (This point may be moot as her office may not have deal with such grievances.)
For now, we know that the entire story is moving that this woman learned to overcome her own prejudices. She acknowledged that black Americans can and do harbor prejudices against their Caucasian fellows. While we may question Ms. Sherrod’s class consciousness, we can appreciate her willingness to acknowledge the hatred that was once in her own heart. And appreciate her willingness to gain compassion for individuals she once scorned.
May this be a lesson for the Reverend Wrights of this world. And those in the Justice Department who would dismiss cases when the targets and/or victims of racial animus were not members of officially sanctioned oppressed ethnicities.
ADDENDUM: Dan Riehl offers a different perspective:
In Sherrod’s view, there is no one world, or even two. There are three. The elite, or wealthy, the whites, propped up over blacks, and then there are blacks. Far from the post-racialAmerica some of her rhetoric would lead you be believe she embraces as a vision, this is a woman trapped by views of race and class that make her a poor public servant at best. Listen to these three minutes and decide for yourself.