Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Is there a statute of limitations on racism?

Seems one Shirley Sherrod, former USDA official made some "mistakes" in a speech. In her speech, she outlined where she didn't work as hard for one person as she could have and her motivation was racism. What's different about this story is that Sherrod is black and the person she didn't work hard for was white.

In a hurry to prove there's no "reverse" racism here, the White House has apparently asked for, and received her resignation. Full story here.

Tea baggers will have a field day with this, saying it proves there is rampant racism in the White House. The NAACP has already spoken out against Sherrod's actions, saying essentially that racism is racism, regardless which color is targeting the other color.

I have two comments. First, Ms. Sherrod said she learned from the issue. She learned "that it wasn't just a black and white issue. It was about those who have and those who do not." (Source)

Umm. Seems Ms. Sherrod has traded racism for class-ism.  How would she treat someone who "has" who was needing her help? Would she work hard for them, or do just enough to make it look like she was working?

Second is that this issue happened 24 years ago. She re-tells the story and tells how she learned from it. I'm very glad for her and hope many people can live from her story. My question is, when does the statute of limitations on racism run out?

To answer that question, Ms. Sherrod might ask Trent Lott. You see, then Senator Lott reminded us that Strom Thurmond ran for president once and commented he would have been good for the country. A lot of people were upset because Thurmond ran on a segregationist platform.

But like Ms. Sherrod, Thurmond learned to move beyond racism over the years, supporting the Voting Rights Act and making the birthday of Martin Luther King a holiday. (see my post here). So should Trent Lott have been punished for something that happened 50+ years earlier? Or did he perhaps realize that Thurmond had learned a lesson and maybe have been a good president after all?

Maybe it's time to listen to our president and realize that talking about racism is simply a distraction.

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