Shirley Sherrod: Let’s All Quit

Posted on Posted in Diversity/Inclusion

I am sure that you have heard about the firing of USDA official, Shirley Sherrod, based on remarks she made at an NAACP event. Some blogger, who has made quite a name for himself, posted on YouTube portions of Ms Sherrod’s speech about her struggle to help white farmers when she considered how Black farmers had historically been treated. Upshot is that Ms. Sherrod was asked to resign without so much as a hearing; only to find out that the clip was edited and posted out of context.

My response to this set of events is the same as my response to all similar ones: RACISM is as AMERICAN as CAPITALISM. And you can not talk about one without evoking the other.I wonder what will be the financial gains for the blogger. Yes, it’s always at work–present blogger included.

Anyway, Ms Sherrod’s actions/emotions towards the white farmers was an American of African descent’s knee-jerk response in at least two ways: 1)She possesses a Black American collective consciousness based on historical and personal experiences in America; and 2) Rooted in that consciousness is an African-informed mindset that is spiritually based that was also born out the survival necessities of her African ancestors. The latter would not allow her to Other even the descendants of an Oppressor. Similarly, with her sense of justice and perhaps her spiritual consciousness, she was compelled to share with the group how the problem was not as it appeared. So, she experienced a sense of personal growth and enlightenment, no doubt her audience identified with her experience.

I agree with her sentiments in that the problem is not as it appeared. For Ms. Sherrod, it was not race but class–about haves and have-nots. For
me it’s not ONLY about race and capital; it is about honesty. Until American gets honest–as did Ms Sherrod, She will always be apologizing for something.
I am so sick of the superficial apologies for which no one is really sorry. Except in this case–the White House official that fired her was acting out of the usual American hypocrisy– another knee-jerk pro-racist response. I’m referring to our infamous penitent, non-apologetic apologies. Can we just stop with the insincerity? For me, it’s like asking a child to apologize when they sincerely and wholeheartedly intended to kick or bite the adult that pissed them off.

What we need to do is acknowledge the pervasiveness of our racism and TALK PEOPLE. As hopeful as I am, I get the sense that we’d rather “go on pretending and living a lie” (a la Gladys Knight) than to be honest about the poverty of our race relationships.

BUT, if we are not going to take this doctor’s advice then we should all
resign–just quit. My looming fear is that we have already , which is why we continue to apologize for things we are not at all sorry about. But, Shirley, you keep speaking the truth; I hear and feel you.

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