Don’t think I haven’t been following the Shirley Sherrod mess for the past week. Even up here at the Vermont Studio Center (in the mountains, okay?), where I am trying to write several hours daily in order to finish a book (which is why I’m not blogging more frequently), still, I follow the news closely.
They did that Sister horribly, but I can’t say I’m surprised. I looked at my watch and discovered, it was right about time for a Sister to get thrown under the bus—again.
I’m not making light of this. I’m simply stating facts.
Every presidential administration, you get a Sister who has to take one for the team. In fact, there’s a long history of Sisters taking one for the team, but rarely does anyone make a big deal about it.
For example, when Reagan was running for president in 1976, he made a whole class of Sisters into the villains. Remember the “welfare queens”? Oh, yes, how can we forget that group of Sisters who were getting PAID IN FULL off their $237.00 a month government checks?
Dang, I’m just surprised them Sisters weren’t all living together in a Black community on the French Riviera with that kind of cash at their monthly disposal.
Sidebar: Yet for some reason, Barack sucked up to White conservatives during the last election, praising Ronald Reagan. I was a little confused, because last I heard “Reagan” was a dirty word in the Democratic community. Can you say, “Crack epidemic” and “cuts to higher education” anyone?
Or, remember Lani Guinier, President Clinton’s extremely accomplished nominee for the Justice Department, who had to go gently into that good night? But still, we Black folks loved ourselves some Bill. In fact, very few of us even remember Lani Guinier. It was only until Bill and Hillary committed the grave sin of knocking aside Martin Luther King, Jr. that we Black folks stopped calling him our First Brother President. You know there are three people you cannot talk bad about in the Black community: somebody’s mama, Jesus, and Martin Luther King, Jr.
Or, what about Condi Rice? I will never forget being at the Furious Flower Conference in 2004 and hearing an OG Black Arts Movement poet (who shall remain nameless) call her “Condoleeza The Skeezer.” The whole audience–except me and my friend sitting beside me–burst into raucous laughter. I was like, what’s the joke?
I ain’t saying that Condi is one of my sheroes or that I’m gone get a t-shirt with her face in sparkly paint on it or nothing. But Condi Rice was simply carrying out orders for the Bush Administration—in the same way that Colin Powell did. Sure, those orders were lowdown, but Colin followed those lowdown orders the same way Condi did. So how come Colin Powell gets the Big Black Hero hat while Condi got called out of her name?
So, here we go again, in the Obama Administration with Shirley Sherrod, though in Obama’s defense, the lady was a little low down on the hierarchy for him to know what was going on.
And I must confess that I am warmed by the Black folks—Sisters AND Brothers this time—who are rushing to Sherrod’s defense. It makes me feel good that Black men are stepping up to the plate and defending Sherrod in public, even when it took Barack a long, long time to right this situation.
I love Barack. I really do. But I wish he would stop worrying so much about his popularity and start getting hardcore. Because he might not have a chance at a second term and conservative White folks can’t stand him and never will like him, so he just needs to get over it and start pandering to his base–which is liberals of all complexions.
Yes, I said it.
And if the Democrats lose the next election, and one of these crazy Tea Bagger folks gets in presidential office, the old Black ladies will be right. We really will be living in The Last Days. I ain’t ashamed to say, I’m scared y’all. I got my prayerfest going, ’cause I want to pay off my student loan debt before Jesus comes for me. Or, I HOPE he’s coming for me. I’m just saying.
Unlike much of the rest of the blogosphere, I have tried to hold my tongue—or fingers, in this case—until I found out all the facts about Shirley Sherrod. I’ve done some reading and viewing. Below is a list of what I think are the best links that deal with different aspects of the Sherrod debacle.
Always brilliant, always courageous, Melissa Harris Lacewell breaks down the history of publicly vilifying Black women on MSNBC Countdown in five minutes–so click on this. In a nutshell, Harris Lacewell says it ain’t nothing new.
I gotta say, as a poet, I can’t help but admire Harris Lacewell’s serious on-point economy with words. She just gets all Shazam! on folks.
Bob Herbert says the Sherrod affair is just the latest evidence showing that the Obama administration gets punked by race issues every time–so click on this.
Over on Brother Mark Anthony Neal’s blog, two guest bloggers weigh in on this issue. First, Stephanie Dunn on the NAACP, among others– so click on this.
And then, Chris Kromm talks about the actual racism in the USDA. Hint: it’s not the Black folks–so click on this.
When it comes to the Tea Baggers, Michael Eric Dyson (on CBS News) says about Obama administration, “If you scared, then say you scared”–so click on this.
And finally, on The Root, Tom Burrell says Black leaders need to take a stand on race–so click on this. I could have told Burrell that a lot time ago, but he breaks it down in a much better way than I ever could, so I’m not mad at him.
Ok, y’all, I got to get back to my hustle and put some words down on this page! Wish me luck on finishing a book this summer. I need luck, mojo, and prayer, too, so whatever you can throw my way, get it going and I will appreciate it.