Wednesday, July 21, 2010

incapable of shame

the other day, andrew breitbart posted a highly edited, out-of-context video (discussed here yesterday) which he said proved that USDA official shirley sherrod was a racist, and that, by extension, so was her audience—the NAACP. the video spread like wildfire around right-wing sites and sherrod was soon forced to resign.

but then the full, unedited video came to light, and it vindicates sherrod. virtually everyone now concedes that the original clip was a vicious smear. through deceptive editing, it turned reality on its head, transforming sherrod's tale of redemption—of how she came to overcome racist impulses, 24 years ago, long before she worked for the USDA—into a tale of vindictive oppression against an innocent, helpless white man. even breitbart now admits sherrod was wronged, though he's still highly disingenuous about his role in the scandal and why he posted the video in the first place.

virtually everyone, that is... but not gary welsh. gary's credulous post on the subject remains on his site, with no updates or corrections. as recently as 5:22 last night, longer after he should've known better, he was leaving comments defending his assertions that sherrod and her audience were racists.

will gary welsh post a retraction?

personally, i'm certain he won't. and the reason why i know he won't is because gary has never once posted a retraction of any significance. yes, once or twice he's posted minor corrections, like when he gets the spelling of someone's name or their party affiliation wrong. but despite the many laughably false things that gary has posted over the years, he has never retracted a single one, and i doubt he ever will. i doubt he's even capable of it.

despite what he may claim, gary is completely incapable of admitting a mistake and utterly unable to handle even mild criticism. anyone who criticizes him is assumed to be a dishonest political operator, and ends up on his personal enemies list (which is getting pretty long). i don't know if the problem is that he can't realize when he's wrong, or if he's just too proud to admit it, but either way, the end result is the same: the lies just get bigger and bigger.

update: did i call it or what? far from being able to admit he was wrong, gary doubles down on the insanity.

2nd update: can you believe gary is still going on about what a horrible racist shirley sherrod is? we're beyond satire at this point, folks.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

on refuting, refudiating, and repudiating racism

last week, delegates for the NAACP passed a resolution calling on the tea party to repudiate racism. the resolution doesn't accuse all tea partiers of racism, as some would have you believe; it simply points out the well-documented history of racists showing up at tea party events, and asks tea partiers to "make clear there is no place for racism & anti-Semitism, homophobia and other forms of bigotry in their movement."

now, when someone asks you to repudiate racism, the correct response is... to repudiate racism. it's pretty simple. tea party leaders could've simply issued a response like this:

we absolutely repudiate racism and other forms of bigotry, and if bigots do turn up at our events, know that they do not speak for us and we don't share their views.

easy, right? had the tea party done this, the story would've been gone in a day, plus the tea party would be insulated against any future accusations of racism—we repudiated racism months ago!

but this being the tea party, they instead went berserk. they accused the NAACP of hypocrisy. they claimed that the "real racists" were the NAACP, not them. and in a development that was probably inevitable, some responded to accusations of racism by becoming even more racist!

that's what happened to mark williams, spokesman for the tea party express. williams first responded by saying that the NAACP makes "more money off of race than any slave trader, ever" and belongs "in the trash heap [...] along with all the other vile, racist groups that emerged in our history."

then, apparently unsatisfied, williams penned possibly the most racist blog post ever, in which he mocked the NAACP for having the word "colored" in their name, then went on to adopt the persona of "tom's nephew", using plainly offensive language to repeat all sorts of horrible stereotypes about african-americans.

the post was so beyond-the-pale, over-the-top offensive that williams was soon forced to take it down, but the damage was already done. williams was demoted; his group was expelled from the tea party federation and denounced by other tea party groups.

so in the end, the NAACP resolution was a partial success: it resulted in the tea party denouncing one of its own leaders.

still, many wingnuts continue to ignore the williams debacle, pretending that there are no racists in the tea party movement and that the NAACP is full of hateful hypocrites. melyssa "miss ann" donaghy—who you'll be either pleased or bemused to learn recently resurrected her blog—tried to pretend that all the racists at tea party events are leftist "infiltrators" sent "to pose as racists". she also suggested that the NAACP were hypocrites because they didn't speak up when a black conservative got beat up this one time, stating that "I hope it is ok by the NAACP to be black and conservative in America!"

apparently to melyssa, the NAACP are hypocrites if they don't specifically and individually denounce every incidence of racism ever, even if they've never heard of it. of course, given the opportunity, they would gladly denounce racist violence against kenneth gladley or anyone else, just as benjamin jealous had no problem denouncing the new black panther party on this week's meet the press. (also, note to melyssa: michael steele, RNC chair, is a longtime NAACP member.)

at least melyssa admits that racists have attended tea party events. gary welsh couldn't even bring himself to do that. first he tried to pin the resolution on michelle obama, simply because she was present at the meeting. (she was actually there to discuss childhood obesity.)

he also trotted out an out-of-context video that's been making the rounds of a black USDA official confessing to having stuggled with racism while performing her job, citing it as proof that the NAACP, not tea partiers, are the real racists. (the NAACP quickly condemned the official, but naturally that's not good enough for gary, who's just looking for an excuse call andre carson a liar.)

gary, and people like him, have a shockingly naive view of racism and bigotry. he has no trouble identifying bigotry when directed at People Like Him by People Not Like Him (though he seems to have completely stopped discussing homophobia—supposedly one of his blog's signature issues), yet he seemingly defines white racism as dressing up in a sheet and lynching folks. and since he and his fellow right-wingers aren't out burning crosses (well... most of them aren't), they therefore aren't racists and their actions are thus not racist. this is why gary doesn't understand when others call him out for racist attitudes in his blog. he assumes that he isn't a racist and is thus incapable of racist thought, so when others point out problematic content, he assumes they must be political opponents who are trying to discredit him. he never bothers to analyze what he's written and why it might be offensive—and perhaps he never will.

of course, everyone has racist or bigoted thoughts from time to time. the key to overcoming bigotry is to recognize these thoughts for what they are and act accordingly.

update: unsurprisingly, the USDA official's story becomes a lot less damning when viewed in context.

2nd update: NAACP has issued a new statement:

With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias.

Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.

The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.

Moreover, this incident and the lesson it prompted occurred more that 20 years before she went to work for USDA.

Finally, she was sharing this account as part of a story of transformation and redemption. In the full video, Ms.Sherrod says she realized that the dislocation of farmers is about "haves and have nots." "It's not just about black people, it's about poor people," says Sherrod in the speech. "We have to get to the point where race exists but it doesn't matter."

Sunday, July 18, 2010

fight violence with violence, or indianapolis blame expo

shorter abdul hakim-shabazz: you know who i blame for last night's expo shootings? al sharpton! stuff like this proves that black kids deserve to get the crap beaten out of them sometimes. in fact, i'd like to beat some up myself.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

hot streak!!!!!!!!!!!

from the journal-constitution:

Indiana among hardest hit by job losses, report says

Indiana has had one of the steepest declines in employment since the recession began, according to new rankings from an economic policy group.

The share of the state's population that's employed dropped more than in all but five other states between November 2007 and May 2010, according to the Brookings Institution's Hamilton Project.

The share of Hoosiers employed dropped from 63.5 percent in November 2007 to 57.2 percent in May 2010.

Indiana's 6.3 percentage point drop was even bigger than the 5.6 percentage point decline in Michigan, which has had the highest unemployment rate among states for most of the recession but which also got hit earlier than other states.

good thing we have a financial genius like mitch daniels in the governor's office!