Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Race-Baiting and the Power of the Mainstream Media

I'm sure that by now you have all heard the drama that is Shirley Sherrod's forced resignation. A video excerpt of a speech Sherrod gave at a 2010 NAACP event was posted by conservative blogger, Andrew Breitbart, to his website. Almost immediately following the posting, the NAACP condemned her statements, while the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture heavily called for her resignation; Sherrod resigned, forcefully.

Upon her resignation it came to light that perhaps the White House should consider the context in which Sherrod's statements were made. After seeing the context in which her statements were made the U.S. Department of Agriculture immediately apologised to Sherrod and asked her if she wanted to be reinstated to her position. In addition, the White House and President Barack Obama offered an apology to Sherrod.

Now, when watching the full video of Sherrod's speech, one sees that her speech is a story of forgiveness and of healing. Sherrod speaks about the death of her father at the hands of white men, of how she and her family overcame her father's death. Sherrod speaks of the distaste she felt towards whites because her father and so many black men had been killed by white men. She spoke of finally coming to terms with race relations and her history when she was appointed to work for the U.S. Department of Agriculture and had to help a poor, white farmer. She speaks of struggling with how much to help this farmer since black farmers had, for years, had their farms taken from them without any opportunity to fight. She speaks of helping this poor, white farmer just enough and figured that he would be taken care of by one of his own. She speaks of coming to the realisation that this struggle was about the poor versus those who have, it isn't always about blacks versus whites. In the end, Sherrod realises that she can't live with hate in her heart and realised that she should dedicate her life to helping the poor.

Does that sound like racism to you? To me this sounds like race-baiting by the right wing mainstream media. After the soundbite was released on this blog, Fox News immediatly took up the story referring to Sherrod's "reverse racism" which actually does not make much sense. The right wing media used these excerpts to fuel the ideas that Shirley Sherrod was a racist and, indirectly I think, attempted to show that the NAACP had racists within it's midsts. Now, this is my own personal theory, but I believe that Andrew Breitbart's posting of these clips from the speech Shirley Sherrod gave was in response to the NAACP's convention calling on the Tea Party to dispel the racists within its movement. As simple as that.

What absolutely appalled me was that the White House and the U.S. Department of Agriculture was so trusting of the information the right-wing media was giving them; they didn't even stop to think that the full video had not been shown. That shows how strong the power of the media is apparently over the Presidency and other governmental institutions and that's scary. Also interesting is that right-wing talking heads such as Glenn Beck seemed to have stood behind Sherrod, proclaiming that she should not have been harassed to resign from her position with the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Weird.

What do y'all think?

Photo Cred: Huffington Post

1 comment:

Angelica said...

The media gets more and more frustrating each day. It all seems like a game to see who can be the most talked about.