Ahh. The Victim Card

So you’ve been embarrassed throughout the media for being a sociopath, a scumbag, and an all-a-round asshole – now, what’s the best thing to do?  Dig in your heels and DEFLECT.

As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well, especially to hear her hurl an accusation of racism at me, when my motivation is absolutely pure and is driven by a desire for this country to move beyond its horrid racist past.”

Hurl accusations of racism?  I’m sorry.  Isn’t that precisely what Breitbart did when he posted the obviously doctored tape of Ms Sherrod speaking before an audience, stating it was a glaring case of racism on her part in reportedly refusing to ‘go all out’ for a white farmer?  Why her?  How is it he latched onto Shirley Sherrod like a pit bull on an intruder’s arm? Motives….it’s all about motives.

In an interview with Newsweek Breitbart is asked: “How do you think this got so out of control?” He immediately goes to Ms Sherrod’s role and then talks about his intention of pointing out the NAACP’s apparent hypocrisy & the Democrats on ‘playing the race card.’   There’s no acknowledgment of the role the Republican party has played in race relations in this country in and certainly none regarding particular elements of the ‘Tea Party. ‘  Instead Breitbart conjures up his role as victim, stating: “As difficult as it probably was for her, it’s been difficult for me as well….”

The difficulty for Breitbart (if there is any indeed) has been brought about by his own self-serving motives.  The difficulty for Ms Sherrod is that she has had a lifetime of difficulty, repeated over and over and over again. Breitbart doesn’t know what real, trying difficulty is about.  I might have a bit smidgen of an idea; however, I can guarantee it’s not at the heightened level of Ms Sherrod’s.

The most insidious response from Breitbart to this question via Newsweek:

So why not apologize for that?

I’d first like to speak to her in private and outside of the media circus.

The man has humiliated her in public with video that absolutely and totally misrepresented what she was saying. He will NOT take responsibility for his role initiating this snowball, and now has the gall to express the desire to “speak to her in private.”  Oh – don’t think so, asshole.  I think it should be broadcast live on CSPAN.  The media circus is of his own creation.

A few questions have been posed in relation to the last week’s events involving Mr. Breitbart and Ms Sherrod.  Legitimate questions.  One point made is this is NOT ancient history.  It’s a terrible history that has been lived

It’s critical that 1965 become ancient history for a party that owes its current existence to a strategy of embracing those who were on the wrong side of the civil rights struggle. Similarly, it’s critical for them that a discussion of the fuckups of the last decade becomes a taboo subject. When your past is shameful, the faster it’s forgotten, the better.

One of the more striking is this from Digby after reading an op-ed piece in the Boston Globe by Derrick Z. Jackson.  Mr. Jackson calls out ‘the white firing line’ in the Dept. of Agriculture and a stark reminder of Ms Sherrod’s history.  One passage I found terribly stark.

She said if someone with her history can be treated as if she had no history at all, the Obama administration risks being oblivious to real racial rot. As the right screams about imaginary injustices to whites, ripped-off black farmers are still losing land. The Obama administration supports $1.2 billion in final payments to address historic USDA discrimination, but the Senate still has not approved the funds. She said the country is still on a path “where we may not have any black farmers left.’’

That’s Breitbart’s MO, isn’t it?  Scream about imaginary injustices while devaluing and dismissing those who have suffered real injustices.   The “relevant passage” for Digby is about Ms Sherrod’s history of injustice and she gives words to what has been in my head as well.  There’s a lot there but it’s this particular portion.

Far too many people are acting as if this woman wasn’t a living witness to the horrors of Jim Crow and the fallout of 200 years of racist history and instead believe that she’s nursing ancient grievances. Her life is treated as the forgotten detritus on the trash heap of history, as if it’s all over, a museum exhibit.

In April to July 1973 I was stationed at Ft. McClellan, Alabama for basic training just outside Anniston, Alabama.  Didn’t know shit about it until I arrived although quite quickly informed. We got briefings along with warnings to be alert and careful.  Some years before in Anniston, 1961 through 1965, were particularly troublesome with a Freedom Rider bus being fire-bombed outside Anniston in May, 1961.

“….the Greyhound continued west …. before turning north on Highway 21 toward Anniston. The largest city in Calhoun County and the second largest in east-central Alabama, Anniston as a no-nonsense army town that depended on nearby Fort McClellan and a sprawling ordnance depot for much of its livelihood. Known for its hard-edged race relations, Anniston boasted a relatively large black population (approximately 30 percent in 1961), a well-established NAACP branch, and some of the most aggressive and violent Klansmen in Alabama.”

My platoon was approximately 30% black and several of us from the West were more willing to engage them than others.  A young woman  from Australia once announced during an impromptu assignment discussion with our drill sergeant she wasn’t going to work alongside “some jungle bunny.”  I was taken aback even though I wasn’t quite sure what was transpiring. I don’t recall much happening as a result of that exchange.

However I do recall a Sunday after Mass when a few of us went into town with a fellow Catholic, a 1Lt who taught cartography, to eat brunch.  I was totally oblivious for a good while of the reaction of some diners but it became quite obvious they were none too pleased with the presence of some of our companions.  It was probably fortunate we all were in uniform and were accompanied by an officer. I do remember I vacillated between confusion and anger.

According to mistermix at Balloon Juice, Joan Walsh asked the question – what if the white farmer couple hadn’t stepped forward, how would have this story turned out?  Joan Walsh isn’t the first to ask.  It’s truly been a question others have asked and discussed.  I think we know the answer given the audacity of Mr. Breitbart.

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