Huffpost Politics

Sarah Palin Defends 'Shuck & Jive' Comments

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SARAH PALIN SHUCK AND JIVE
AP

Sarah Palin defended her use of the phrase "shuck and jive" Wednesday evening after critics blasted the former Alaska governor and 2008 Republican vice presidential nominee for using the racially inflammatory term.

"For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase 'shuck and jive,'" Palin wrote on her Facebook page. "I would have used the exact same expression if I had been writing about President Carter, whose foreign policy rivaled Obama’s in its ineptitude, or about the Nixon administration, which was also famously rocked by a cover-up."

Palin also cited Democrats who have used the phrase, including New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

Palin mocked the outrage over her use of the phrase by suggesting the media stop using terms like "when hell freezes over" so as not to offend her daughter.

"I’ve been known to use the phrase most often when chastising my daughter Piper to stop procrastinating and do her homework. As she is part Yup’ik Eskimo, I’m not sure if this term would be deemed offensive when it’s directed at her or if it would be considered benign as in the case of Chris Matthews’ use of it in reference to Rachel Maddow," she wrote. "Just to be careful, from now on I’ll avoid using it with Piper, and I would appreciate it if the media refrained from using words and phrases like igloo, Eskimo Pie, and 'when hell freezes over,' as they might be considered offensive by my extended Alaska Native family."

Earlier Wednesday, Palin used the racially charged term to criticize the White House's response to the September 11 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi.

"Why the lies? Why the cover up?" she wrote. "Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama's shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end."

Palin's comments were immediately met with backlash on Twitter and cable news programs. CNN's Roland Martin relayed background on the phrase's racial connotations:

"Shucking and jiving" have long been words used as a negative assessment of African Americans, along the lines of a "foot shufflin' Negro." In fact, I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase used in reference to anyone white.

According to a story in Newsday, "The 1994 book 'Juba to Jive, a Dictionary of African-American Slang,' says 'shuck and jive' dates back to the 1870s and was an 'originally southern 'Negro' expression for clowning, lying, pretense.'

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