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  1. auditorydamage
    auditorydamage July 20, 2010 at 2:20 am |

    Leave it to Fox to go the extra mile when it comes to racist agitprop – not only do they air a clip out of context, but if I understand this post correctly they even admitted on-air that they were airing it out of context, but went ahead and did it anyway.

    One obvious difference between the USDA employee and Mark Williams + Fox is that the worker admitted she was wrong to do what she did, and if she’s still employed by the USDA I bet she’ll be fired now. Fox and Williams will defend everything they say and do no matter how rancid and inflammatory the result is. They have chosen to spread fear and hate and anger because they think there is something to gain from doing

  2. Miku
    Miku July 20, 2010 at 3:03 am |

    I really have to disagree with the “her motivations are the least of it” bit… She used her power to discriminate, and she should be held accountable for that. I understand where she’s coming from – hell, in her position, I’d probably do the same thing – but that doesn’t mean it’s not discrimination. No, there won’t be any huge, anti-white legislation passing anytime soon; yes, this is a rare case, but her motivation is still relevant. All that being said, this got a LOT of publicity for being a one-time deal. Whites really want to pretend everything would be A-OK if it weren’t for black-people racism, and that black people should be punished for resenting whites. It just makes these claims so ironic.

  3. Fi
    Fi July 20, 2010 at 6:55 am |

    Amen, Tasha. That they would even air this is incredible.

  4. lyle
    lyle July 20, 2010 at 7:19 am |

    I guess one positive that could come out of this is that more people will see the problem of giving any individual power over others.

    Humans aren’t really capable of perceiving the world in an objective manner, much less make objective decisions based on their perceptions. Better to strip away the kind of power this woman and others like her have to screw around with other peoples lives. (As much as possible, at least.)

  5. Comrade Kevin
    Comrade Kevin July 20, 2010 at 8:31 am |

    That’s the problem with any minority group. They are seen as a bloc with a collective identity rather than as individuals with individual opinion. But when African-Americans usually vote exclusively for one party, this makes characterizations like this much easier.

  6. Tom Foolery
    Tom Foolery July 20, 2010 at 9:06 am |

    The story here is a little confusing — Fox News is running this story, but then you say

    Maybe I’ve got this all wrong, though. Perhaps by highlighting this incident of individual bias against a white farmer by a black USDA worker, The Tea Partiers…

    Fox News = The Tea Partiers?

  7. Waymond
    Waymond July 20, 2010 at 9:24 am |

    Show me some video of a black person spitting on a white Congressman.

    Nobody “spit” on anyone. The guy was yelling loudly and some spittle came out. He didn’t hock a loogey at anyone. By this logic, yes, I’ve been “spat” upon by a black man.

    Tell me when a group of black protesters start screaming “cracker” at white Representatives.

    There is absolutely no evidence that anyone directed a racial slur at Reps. Lewis and Cleaver. There are copious amounts of audio/video shot that day. To date, none of it corroborates their story.

  8. tracy
    tracy July 20, 2010 at 9:38 am |

    this was news YESTERDAY morning. she resigned by yesterday evening. and good riddance!
    the NAACP has now come out with a statement condemning her statements and abuse of power. they have also pointed out the poor judgment of their members who sat in the audience and laughed at the tale of discrimination.
    this just goes to show that, indeed, there are idiots in every crowd. and all groups should police their ranks and weed out the garbage.

  9. S
    S July 20, 2010 at 9:47 am |

    The MRAs and racists are out early today, I see.

    @Waymond:

    “There is absolutely no evidence that anyone directed a racial slur at Reps. Lewis and Cleaver. There are copious amounts of audio/video shot that day. To date, none of it corroborates their story.”

    The “evidence” is the statements of people at the events who heard or witnessed the comments.

    But of course, that’s not good enough, because we just can’t trust those people to be “objective” about these things, right? They get all “crazy” and wild-eyed and make up stories about being persecuted. You simply can’t trust a black person to relate a story about a racist incident unless you have reliable corroboration like, say, a white person, who saw it, too.

  10. lovesickrobot
    lovesickrobot July 20, 2010 at 9:57 am |

    This is not even close to the racism perpetrated by the Tea Party and often given an air of legitimacy by Fox News, Sarah Palin, et al. I fear for the continued (relative) safety of black and Middle Eastern people in this country because of some of the shit I’ve seen from the Tea Party bowel movement. I don’t fear for the safety of white people because one black person couldn’t get enthused about helping one once.

  11. Roxie
    Roxie July 20, 2010 at 10:16 am |

    Comrade Kevin,
    Not even Michael Steele, head of the Republican party, can think of a reason why any black person would choose his party.

  12. g_whiz
    g_whiz July 20, 2010 at 10:19 am |

    @ Comrade Kevin, I think you make a fine yet frustrating point. When it comes to minority groups, be they gay, black, mexican or whatever else, the tendency to presume we all have each other on speed dial, or think with some sort of hive mind is conflated with belonging to a given in-group. Being considered a fully fledged individual (with out other statuses being considered first) is often only a luxury bestowed to those who are of the dominant cluture.

  13. Waymond
    Waymond July 20, 2010 at 10:41 am |

    The “evidence” is the statements of people at the events who heard or witnessed the comments.

    So you admit the story is driven solely by the unverified claims of hardly-disinterested parties?

    This story is complete hogwash, and was exposed as such months ago. There is absolutely no proof that it ever happened.

  14. g_whiz
    g_whiz July 20, 2010 at 10:46 am |

    @Waymond: I would think the “disinterested parties” are the sort of people who feel that throwing around slurs and spitting on people of other ethnic or cultural backgrounds is somehow tolerable behavior. And you’re the one claming the story has been debunked. Do you have any proof of this because otherwise it would seem a moot point to be arguing.

  15. DEM
    DEM July 20, 2010 at 10:56 am |

    from CNN:
    Sherrod said Tuesday that it was “unfortunate that the NAACP would make a statement without even checking to see what happened. This was 24 years ago, and I’m telling a story to try to unite people.”

    She said she tried to explain to USDA officials, “but for some reason, the stuff Fox and the Tea Party does is scaring the administration. I told them to get the whole tape and look at the whole tape and see how I tell people we have to get beyond race and work together.”

    This story did not drop on Monday night; it was all over the memeorandum all day Monday. The lefty blogosphere did absolutely no pushback against this obvious distortion.

  16. Ostien
    Ostien July 20, 2010 at 11:01 am |

    A problem I see here is that she gave an open moment of introspection, she admitted to having a perception she later thought was wrong. She admitted a mistake, she changed her mind, she was not unmoving, she showed non-committal weakness! Oh my! This is a problem the far-right has, any reflection on the past other then to reaffirm your correctness is considered weakness, for the right never admitting to mistakes is strong. This is magnified because she is a woman and thus already being seen as weak by a prevalent sexist cultural narrative.

    Also, as has been discussed earlier here, because of the racial issues here there is a vested interest by the far right to extrapolate this upon all black people, and by extension Obama. This is both because of his own racial background and the fact he was voted in with broad black support, support which is now being charged as racist as a whole. Thus they can continue with their far-right narrative of a coming black racist oppression and tap into white racist sentiment which is a large part of their base. Its disgusting but not entirely surprising, sad as that is.

  17. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 20, 2010 at 11:03 am |

    What I fail to understand is how this justifies white racism. Even if all “black people are totally racist” that in no way excuses white racism. It reminds me of the (possibly apocryphal) stories about the way Nazis were treated at the end of WWII- apparently the captured soldiers were OK if they were captured by the English- but if captured by an American batallion they would probably be subject to a serious beating.

    Why do Americans seem to think racism justifies more racism?

  18. Waymond
    Waymond July 20, 2010 at 11:12 am |

    I would think the “disinterested parties” are the sort of people who feel that throwing around slurs and spitting on people of other ethnic or cultural backgrounds is somehow tolerable behavior.

    In that case, I don’t think you understand what the term “disinterested” means in the context in which it was used.

    And you’re the one claming the story has been debunked. Do you have any proof of this because otherwise it would seem a moot point to be arguing.

    It’s not incumbent upon the advocate of the null hypothesis to prove it. I cannot prove a negative. Lewis, Carson and their supporters are making very serious accusations. It’s their responsibility to provide some sort of evidence that it actually occurred if they wish to toss out such an inflammatory statement. To date, neither they, you, or anyone else has provided a shred of such evidence. In its absence, we must revert to the null. It never happened.

  19. cmm
    cmm July 20, 2010 at 11:26 am |

    For those who haven’t already seen the clarifications:

    –The incident happened 24 years ago in 1986.

    –The woman was NOT in a position of government at the time, but was working for a non-profit.

    –The anecdote was told in the context of her later recognizing this as a wrong thing, she went on to help the farmer not lose his land and was friends with him and his wife. (He’s deceased now, unfortunately).

    –There’s a complete recording of the speech out there that shows the anecdote in its full context.

    –AJC interviewed Ms. Sherrod (the USDA employee) and got her side of the story; when I went to get the link to the story just now I also saw that it’s been updated with the wife of the white farmer speaking up in support of Ms. Sherrod:

    http://www.ajc.com/news/farmers-wife-says-fired-574027.html

    This whole episode makes me sick. Dept. of Agriculture should have stood behind Ms. Sherrod at least until a full investigation was made.

  20. Alex
    Alex July 20, 2010 at 12:39 pm |

    @Waymond: A witness’ testimony is evidence. Thus, it’s your job to prove that testimony false before you dismiss it.

    And if you can even try to do that without making your racism even more obvious, well, I’ll be surprised.

  21. Waymond
    Waymond July 20, 2010 at 1:30 pm |

    @Alex
    I rode on a flying saucer last night. I’m an eyewitness. Thus, it’s your job to prove my testimony false before you dismiss it.

    And thanks for breaking the levee on the absurd accusation of racism. I was wondering when she was going to give. My not mentioning nor caring about any of the individuals’ race is obviously a dead giveaway that I’m typing this in my Klan hood.

    @Tasha
    Not everything needs an objective witness to be true;

    True, but it does need evidence to be definitively evaluated as such by you and I. Evidence that, in this case, is non-existent.

    life isn’t subject to the scientific method.

    I’m afraid it is, though you seem to prefer the “faith-based” approach.

  22. Jordan
    Jordan July 20, 2010 at 1:43 pm |

    Relevant to Waymond’s point is the fact that Andrew Breitbart offered $10,000 to anyone showing such a racist incident at that rally on camera. Despite numerous reporters and other individuals with cameras, no one has come forward to claim the prize.

    http://biggovernment.com/abreitbart/2010/03/25/2010-a-race-odyssey-disproving-a-negative-for-cash-prizes-or-how-the-civil-rights-movement-jumped-the-shark/

  23. Ostien
    Ostien July 20, 2010 at 1:50 pm |

    @cmm, I was watching CNN and they did an interview with Sherrod and then with Eloise Spooner and the interviewer stated that her husband was deceased and Eloise corrected the interviewer and said he was very much alive (he apparently is 87 and was on his Peterbilt truck that morning :p ). The interviewer apologized and said they had gotten misinformed reports from a paper.

    Seem there is some miscommunication somewhere and perhaps now someone will interview him.

  24. AFRIMERICAN
    AFRIMERICAN July 20, 2010 at 2:34 pm |

    This article should be a lesson to all Afrimerican women that align themselves with the feminist movement which was and still is a White womens fight against White men, and Afrimerican women were and still are used to further an agenda of second teir White Supremacy.

    As for the comments by the USDA worker, she erred only in speaking out loud what Whites have learned to keep quiet about, yet simultaneously engaging in wanton, eggregious acts of racism daily because they can get away with it based on the racist social, and political structure of the United States.

    She expressed being in a position for once, that Whites are born into and use at every chance. One incidence is miniscule compared to the millions, billions, trillions White America engages in as their norm and god given (false) right.

    1. Jill
      Jill July 20, 2010 at 2:46 pm | *

      Well Waymond, it’s been fun. Thanks for playing and farewell.

  25. Manju
    Manju July 20, 2010 at 3:36 pm |

    If a black person tells me they got spit on by a white protester, I have no reason to believe they’re not telling the truth. Contrary to popular belief, black people don’t make it a hobby to go around making unfounded claims of racism and race-based abuse.

    It would help if this thesis were applied consistently. For instance, this incident involving the SEIU allegedly beating up a black conservative is amuch talked about in right-wing circles:

    Meanwhile, the left responds like Waymond:

    “You guys are so stretching it here. I saw the video and in it was NO indication of any “white thug gang” attacking an “innocent” man. Your assumptions are baseless and you have absolutely NO evidence to back up your assertions. You should be ashamed of yourselves, I am betting your mothers are proud of you for being such avid liars. ” (from link above)

    “Kenneth Gladney is doing his best to cash in on his 15 seconds of fame, following his fake “brutal assault” at the hands of SEIU supporters outside a St. Louis “town hall” on health care.”
    David Neiwert (Crooks & Liars)

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I don’t recall the progressive blogosphere asking David Neiwert to check his privilege.

  26. Melissa
    Melissa July 20, 2010 at 4:09 pm |

    Minor correction- it was Hilary Clinton who leaked the Reverend Wright videos to ABC, not Republicans.

    1. Jill
      Jill July 20, 2010 at 4:13 pm | *

      Minor correction- it was Hilary Clinton who leaked the Reverend Wright videos to ABC, not Republicans.

      Um… evidence please?

  27. Butterfly
    Butterfly July 20, 2010 at 4:21 pm |

    You cannot compare hundreds of years of racism and oppression to a Black person being angry for being mistreated. Tea Partiers and Republicans don’t seem to comprehend that nobody can TRULY be racist against White people because in order to be a true racist you need to have power over the other race. If I as a Mexican woman make a statement about a White person, it’s not really racist, it’s not very nice and I shouldn’t really have the mentality of thinking that it’s ok for me to say something mean because I’m a member of a minority group, but it’s not truly racist because I don’t have a power over a White person, specifically a White male.

    Tea Partiers are true racists and think that the NAACP, whose purpose is not to be racist, are racists because they call White people on their Whiteness. To hate a White person and Whiteness are two different things, and when White people who are activists for equality realize their Whiteness and work hard to combat this, then I can truly say that we are a lot closer to working for various forms of equality. Let’s not pretend that liberal White activists are any less racist because they are on the “non right wing conservative” side. Ignorance and omitting POC’s experience is just as bad in my personal opinion…and sometimes even worse…

  28. Melissa
    Melissa July 20, 2010 at 5:09 pm |

    @Jill

    It is only speculation that her campaign leaked the videos, but it was her campaign that pounced on the supposed controversy, not McCain’s. McCain avoided mentioning Wright during the entire campaign, though plenty of right wingers certainly took the videos and ran with them.

  29. Manju
    Manju July 20, 2010 at 5:13 pm |

    Re rev Wright: I don’t think its known who leaked the tape to the press, so saying the clinton campaign was behind it is not accurate, afaik.

    However, the controvery exploded during the primary, so saying “Republicans busted out Reverend Wright to make Obama look like a racial separatist” is literally true, but a half-truth since many clinton supporters were doing exactly that. for example:

    http://www.noquarterusa.net/blog/2008/04/10/jeremiah-wright-was-a-muslim-why-that-matters/

    Clinton herself scolded obama “Wright ‘would not have been my pastor” and her internal clinton campaign docs said:

    “Does anyone believe that it is possible to win the nomination without, over these next two months, raising all these issues on him? … Won’t a single tape of [the Reverend Jeremiah] Wright going off on America with Obama sitting there be a game ender?”

  30. IrishUp
    IrishUp July 20, 2010 at 7:11 pm |

    Hmmm. Turns out, SOMEONE (white) totes editied that video to make it look like it was something it wasn’t.

    http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/archives/2010/07/the_big_tell.php?ref=fpblg

    Ms. Sherrod has already lost her job (though, if Obama has any spine left at all, she should be immediately reinstated with a hardship bonus and a BIG ASS PRESIDENTIAL APOLOGY). I’ll set the over-under at 1.5. Who wants action on whether any white men are gonna lose THEIR jobs over this? Hmmm? I’ll even say over a week rather than the flat minutes it took for Ms. Sherrod to find herself under the bus.

  31. April
    April July 20, 2010 at 7:23 pm |

    Tea Partiers and Republicans don’t seem to comprehend that nobody can TRULY be racist against White people because in order to be a true racist you need to have power over the other race. If I as a Mexican woman make a statement about a White person, it’s not really racist, it’s not very nice and I shouldn’t really have the mentality of thinking that it’s ok for me to say something mean because I’m a member of a minority group, but it’s not truly racist because I don’t have a power over a White person, specifically a White male.

    Well, yes. Definitely. But the reason that these people were up in arms about it was because (before the clarifications occurred) the Black woman in question did have power over the White people in question. Obviously, a person of color having legitimate power like that over a white person is not the norm, but in a situation like this, had it been what the Tea Party was claiming it to be, wouldn’t the term “racist” actually apply? Considering the imbalance of power in that particular situation?

  32. Theresa
    Theresa July 20, 2010 at 8:18 pm |

    Oh, the “THREE wrongs make a right” argument. Brilliant.

  33. Nanette
    Nanette July 20, 2010 at 8:26 pm |

    April, it requires an awful lot of “if’s” to answer that question, I think.

    So, IF Ms. Sherrod had actually been in a position of power as part of the federal or state government in 1986 or so when this occurred, instead of apparently working at a non-profit Black farmers co-op thing, I suppose it could be considered racist that she didn’t want to do as much for the White farmer, instead opting to send him to a white lawyer and do as little as possible. (If any of that had happened, which apparently it didn’t.)

    Although even that would be a personal type bigotry, backed by some small measure of power, and not the systematic racism that has been employed for centuries – by governments and private individuals alike – against non-white people. There really is a huge difference between the (supposed) actions of one petty bureaucrat and the whole weight of law, history and government falling down on you and everyone like you.

    But it seems that little or nothing at all about the story Breitbart put out is true. She didn’t give a racist speech, the people at the NAACP didn’t applaud the racist speech she didn’t give, she wasn’t a government worker 25 years ago, instead of abandoning the man and his family and farm (like the white lawyer did) she took them under her wing and fought long and hard to save their farm, just like she fought for the Black farmers she was supposed to be working for, so on, so forth. The imagined or supposed racism of Ms. Sherrod, or of Black people in power over whites, simply doesn’t come into it, even as a thought exercise.

  34. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 20, 2010 at 8:44 pm |

    @Butterfly You say “in order to be a true racist you need to have power over the other race.”

    What is a ‘true racist’? Anyway, I’m not sure I agree with this. There are many white South Africans who I would describe as ‘racist’ despite the power shift in the South African government.

    I would define a ‘true racist’ as someone who sees the differences between people of different races as being more significant than the similarities. That’s a definition that just occurred to me, so I would imagine it’s not everyone’s.

  35. Linda Binda
    Linda Binda July 20, 2010 at 9:11 pm |

    I don’t get all the extraneous arguments about what’s racist or not. It seems to me that 1) journalists in the US no longer do their jobs — they’re just glorified gossip-hounds, at this point; 2) our White House is run by a bunch of wimps terrified by some idiot who runs some stupid blog, and they need to held accountable for how ridiculously gullible they are; and 3) DAMN! are people gullible now. WHO CARES WHAT ANDREW BREITBART THINKS? WHO IS HE? That’s the question you should be asking.

    It really increases your faith in humanity, doesn’t it?

  36. Michael
    Michael July 20, 2010 at 11:45 pm |

    This is absolutely ridiculous. I would find these teabagger cultists rather fascinating and somewhat amusing were it not for the poison and ignorance they have brought to American civic discourse. These xenophobic Neanderthals romanticize a historical ideal (embodied in a poor understanding of the Founding Fathers and certain strains of Christianity) that is far removed from the actual cultural milieu they seek to recreate. It is quite clear to me, frankly, that this is a predominantly older white male thing that longs very much so for the “good old days” where “uppity blacks and women” didn’t compete with them for jobs, for social prominence, and for control of social discourse. Where homosexuals, transexuals and other genderqueers stayed firmly in the closet. You see, one must interpret their discourse, as it is very code-driven. When they speak of the glorious founding fathers, think Southern slaveholders who made sure better off white Americans had democracy, but really no one else, and of course, no one else is important right? Let me say frankly I speak as a straight white male. I seldom speak on matters of race or gender or sexuality for that simple fact. My whiteness and maleness privilege me in ways that I cannot even begin to analyze and has given me countless opportunities through my almost 20 years of life. And sadly, it almost certainly will. In this regard, I have mixed feelings. I am all too conscious that those who suffer from oppression should have a safe space in which to discuss these matters. I have seen even in feminist circles how when I start speaking many of the women will almost subconsciously defer to me, letting me speak my mind as long as I may please. I can feel that dynamic set in almost instantly, and I regret that. However, it can also at times be advantageous. I am all too conscious how what I say can have weight where if others would say them it would instantly be controversial and probably derided. So, I am going to go ahead and say something. What these teabaggers mean, when they speak of “reverse racism” is their sense of entitlement. How dare white men no longer be able to rape women, especially women of color, with impunity? How dare people of color compete with us for “our jobs”? How dare genderqueer folk tell us that their perversion should ever receive official sanction? That is what this is really all about. Old tired white people, especially white men, who feel entitled to their male privilege. We often hear about how if a white person and a person of color are competing for the same job and both are equally qualified, then that person of color will almost always get the job. First of all, I do not believe this claim has been reliably verified statistically. Second of all, so what? To bring about equality in our society will involve some sacrifices on the part of those with privilege. I should be competing with women and with those of color when I look at the job market. I should have to give up a great deal of the security that comes with being a white male. White Americans seem to occupy the position that minorities in our country should somehow be equitable with whites without whites making any requisite sacrifices to make this happen. We need a more nuanced view of oppression in our society that takes into account class, gender, race, and sexual orientation. But first, we need to get these reactionary and toxic political movements like the teabaggers out of our political discourse. Sorry for the long post, and I very much hope that it was coherent!

  37. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 21, 2010 at 12:53 am |

    Show me some video of a black person spitting on a white Congressman. Tell me when a group of black protesters start screaming “cracker” at white Representatives.

    Eh, you could show me all that and it still wouldn’t be racism. Who doesn’t want to spit on at least one white Congressman nowadays? I can think of a few I’d aim for… And there’s no way “cracker” is ever going to pack the kind of punch that the n-word does — I’m white and I don’t know a single white person who takes it very seriously (I guess they probably exist but honestly, no…)

    And that’s aside from the whole structural argument of “prejudice + power” etc. If a black person spit at or swore at someone solely because they were white then they’d be a bigoted asshole — but they don’t have the systemic* power to be racist.

    *I think that’s the distinction in this USDA thing, too — (allegedly?) a black woman had situational power over a white person and took advantage of it because of race-related prejudice. (And really, that’s bad enough by itself not to need the “racism” label appended, I think. Having power over someone and purposefully screwing them over, even a little bit? BAD!) But without the system backing her up I don’t think it could be counted as racism.

  38. Bagelsan
    Bagelsan July 21, 2010 at 12:58 am |

    Show me some video of a black person spitting on a white Congressman.

    And, frankly, if you look at a rich old white man with a lot of political heft and based on all that think “that guy is probably a terrible person” that doesn’t make you a racist, that makes you a sentient being who has decent pattern-recognition!

    (Man, I’m being cynical… I should go to bed. :p)

  39. S
    S July 21, 2010 at 7:20 am |

    “I would define a ‘true racist’ as someone who sees the differences between people of different races as being more significant than the similarities. That’s a definition that just occurred to me, so I would imagine it’s not everyone’s.”

    You’re defining racism based on the perspective of the oppressor class, members of which do not typically see (and are probably incapable of wholly seeing) the systemic nature of the issue. Our society is built on and presumes the existence of race, and racial hierarchy, with whiteness being preeminent, in the same way that we presume the existence of gender and male preeminence and assign things accordingly. Race exists because white people made it exist, because we created the concept of whiteness, and we used force to structure a society which would perpetuate a white hegemony.

    So it is easy for white people and a white culture to define racism in terms of individual people having “bad thoughts”, because we don’t necessarily see the way the mechanics work to perpetuate systemic racism. To that end, any definition of “racism” created by white people is not a good definition – we don’t experience it, so it makes no sense for us to be the people who define it. Besides which, any definition of racism which focuses in any way on personal bias puts most of the onus on people of color, since the nature of “race” and race-based oppression makes it so that white people have no logical reason to be biased against members of racially oppressed groups, but members of those groups have every reason to be biased against white people.

    So in the end, defining “racism” as a personal, individual character flaw absolves most white people of any real responsibility. We can point to a few “bad” white people who have those “bad thoughts”, ignore our participation in entrenched structures and social norms which sustain racism, and chastise “uppity” people of color who ever respond at all emotionally by accusing them of being “just as bad” as the few “bad” white people.

    In any system of oppression, there is a class of oppressors and a class of oppressed. People aren’t oppressed by abstract concepts; they’re oppressed by other people’s actions.

    I admit that I’m not well versed in these issues; I’ve never taken any anti-racist training, and I’m only tangentially involved in anti-racist activity (immigrants’ rights), so I would consider what I have to be a pretty basic understanding. But it shouldn’t take more than a bit of serious thought about the nature of class-based oppression to think this through and realize that racism is not about individual bad actors. The bad acts of individual white people may be symptoms of oppression, but ultimately racism is something that all white people – as members of a class – do to all people of color.

  40. Ava
    Ava July 21, 2010 at 7:37 am |

    But later in the tape, in the portion not originally posted, Sherrod says, “working with (the farmer) made me see that it’s really about those who have versus those who have not. They could be black. They could be white. They could be Hispanic.”

    The department is now reconsidering her resignation:

    http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/07/21/agriculture.employee.usda/

  41. piratequeen
    piratequeen July 21, 2010 at 10:51 am |

    What is this, the Bizarro World version of Feministe? Commenting dudes are slugging it out in a stereotypically dude-like way. Fat Steve actually references “white racism”, as if there was any such thing. Seriously, wtf, it feels like I’m at Daily Kos or something.

    1. Jill
      Jill July 21, 2010 at 11:27 am | *

      What is this, the Bizarro World version of Feministe? Commenting dudes are slugging it out in a stereotypically dude-like way. Fat Steve actually references “white racism”, as if there was any such thing. Seriously, wtf, it feels like I’m at Daily Kos or something.

      Just FYI, Tasha has made it clear that she is letting certain comments through in order to illustrate just how racist readers of progressive/feminist blogs can actually be (and if you think these comments are bad, you should see what she’s deleted. These are child’s play in comparison). Each blogger moderates his/her own posts, and often the mod strategies will differ given the content and context. Just because a comment goes up doesn’t mean we endorse it.

  42. victoria
    victoria July 21, 2010 at 11:54 am |

    Color of Change has a good analysis of the whole story, and a petition to reinstate Sherrod:

    http://www.colorofchange.org/shirley/message.html

  43. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 21, 2010 at 12:04 pm |

    By ‘white racism’ I meant white people being racist, not racism against white people.

  44. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 21, 2010 at 12:08 pm |

    I should also point out that from the context of what I said it should have been obvious what I mean.

    Jill, I understand you’re in charge here, but I don’t think it’s fair for you to refer to my post as one of the ‘racist’ ones Tasha has allowed, when there was clearly nothing racist about my comment.

  45. Fat Steve
    Fat Steve July 21, 2010 at 12:18 pm |

    @S you quote me as saying “I would define a ‘true racist’ as…” then you proceed to tell me:
    “You’re defining racism based on the perspective of the oppressor class”
    “it is easy for white people and a white culture to define racism in terms of individual people having “bad thoughts” “any definition of “racism” created by white people is not a good definition”
    “So in the end, defining “racism” as a personal, individual character flaw absolves most white people of any real responsibility.”

    I’m not saying I disagree with your points…but I never defined racism. I merely defined what I thought (and I stressed that it was totally my definition,) a “true racist” to be, responding to Butterfly’s post where she uses those exact words. We were always talking about an individual, so for you to criticize me for precisely that is completely out of order .

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