Without question the Obama Administration dropped the ball on how Shirley Sherrod was treated when she was fired from her job unfairly last week by Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. Vilsack issued the following during a press conference several days ago:
"This is a good woman and she had been put through hell."
"I'll have to live with this for a very long time."
"I want to close the chapter on a very difficult period in Civil Rights."
"The buck stops with me as it should."
Sherrod was offered a new position within the Agriculture Department but she's yet to accept. She wants to speak with President Barack Obama, but up to this point that conversation hasn't taken place.
Will there be another "beer summit?"
Here's what Sherrod had to say: "I can't say that the president is fully behind me," Sherrod told ABC's George Stephanopoulos. "I would hope that he is. ... I would love to talk to him."
President Obama is quiet and White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs was his usual vague self as he didn't commit to an exact time when President Obama was briefed on the Sherrod situation.
There won't be another "teachable moment" because one never took place last year when the esteemed scholar Henry Louis Gates was treated like a second-class slave. President Obama had Gates along with the SGT. John Crawley over to the White House to put a few back and iron things out. Nothing of substance came from the meeting because it wasn't designed to. It was about political posturing and not justice.
Let's move beyond the Sherrod situation and look at the bigger picture. There are not enough people who are affected by racism who are not allowed in the conversation. Gates and Sherrod are not indicative of what transpires in the mainstream consistently: Wouldn't it make sense to get feelings from the horses' mouth?
Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are the self-proclaimed voices for African-Americans at times. Generally their causes are noble yet ultimately the oppressed masses need to take responsibility for their destiny.
The key is a collective discussion about race that's on-going. Like the Gates situation, Sherrod's will soon disappear from our collective memories. It will represent another missed opportunity to truly make a difference and march to truth via justice.
President Obama already has the keys to the White House. He can no longer use the excuse of evading race because he wants to win the race. President Obama can surely use his platform to diffuse race but if he doesn't, fine. Some of us are not afraid to engage and articulate what needs to be said whether he does or not.
Here's my take on Sherrod: She'll get her job back. But it isn't about her job; it's about how she was treated. It's about race and the media. Lastly it's about time to really have that "teachable moment."
If I were in charge this is what I'd do: First things first: define what racism is, who is responsible and how it came to infiltrate America.
Can't understand the weed until you first understand the seed.
Let's start with the rise of American slavery as the prototypical example of racism. We all need to understand what happened there and who was responsible.
Next, we need to understand what role the judicial system has played in fostering racial injustice. We need to understand what the economical ramifications are surrounding racism a well.
We need to understand the media and the role it's played in infiltrating our collective minds by the concept of social-engineering.
The most important cog in having this teachable moment is racism is often about economics and not color. Ultimately it's about those who have and have not. It's about those who own and control oppressing the masses.
Who usually wins?
Racism is the ultimate thief of opportunity that keeps the oppressed at the bottom rungs of society. Racism isn't entirely about color, yet that's the most salient feature disseminated amongst the masses so that's what the media focuses on most.
In order to have a discussion about racism that's viable, it has to be open and honest. That means a segment of white America will be forced to view items from history that will be rather disturbing. The only way to truly face it is to deal with it. No, this discussion will not reach everyone but it can consistently put it in play how things were and how they can be.
At the end of the day, those at the top will not give up what they've accumulated via oppression without being forced to do so.
With regards to the Sherrod situation as it comes to a close, after all of the apologies and getting her job back, what will have been really learned?
Sadly, we'll leave this situation like the many others that have occurred and that's with a bunch of apologies but no real change.