The radicals of the rightwing have pulled another con game, and one middle-aged black woman was the target.
Well, no, the confidence that Americans have in their own government, and in their own institutions was the target. Shirley Sherrod was collateral damage, even though someone painted the laser beam on her while someone else released the laser-guided bomb.
And the bomb landed and did its damage. Sherrod was out of her job at the USDA, but more importantly, the entire Obama Administration was seen, momentarily, as an administration desperately trying to cover up the fact that their employees were actively engaged in reverse discrimination.
Momentarily, because someone bothered to stop and listen to what Sherrod was saying. And them someone else stopped to view the entire speech in which right wingers charged they had her crowing about her success in getting some payback from white people. Only to find that she was speaking to the reverse of the philosophy that right wingers were trying to hang on her.
In short, speaking to a philosophy that makes neoconservative Republicans’ blood run cold: a black woman who was once the object of racial discrimination herself speaking to the politics of a post-racial America. Speaking to the politics of abandoning past recriminations in favor of a future-vision of colorblindness in America.
A vision, that neoconservatives confirmed for her was still yet just a vision. The last thing that neoconservatives want is racial reconciliation, even though clearly that is still year away.
But the whole thing blew up in their faces. The story was more powerful than their ability to obfuscate and out-shout those who discovered their dastardly conspiracy. They are now running for cover.
So now, what should Shirley do?
Clearly this is fertile ground for a lawsuit. Someone took a perfectly reasonable 40 minute speech and trimmed it to give someone the idea that she was espousing the opposite of the purpose of her speech.
Someone did this and tracing that back to the origin these days is child’s play.
Should Ms. Sherrod take the new job being offered to her? Really it depends on what the rest of the offer is. If this offer is to get her to be good and not talk about this, then no, she should turn the job down. I don’t know her, but I get the impression that this would certainly run against her grain as it does mine.
How does she live then? What does Ms. Sherrod do to keep food on the table?
My short bulleted list:
- A book
- By Fall, with book signature tours.
- Screen rights.
- A campaign to get “Sherrod” included in Webster’s Dictionary as a verb, meaning to take a person’s well-meaning statements on racial equality and twisting them to mean the opposite by those seeking to worsen racial divisions.
I'm sure there is more we can do.