On Racism and Sexism in the Case of Shirley Sherrod

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Janell Hobson writes here at the Ms. Magazine blog about the attacks on and defenses of Shirley Sherrod.  Hobson writes that the ”conversations unfolded the way they did because a black woman was at the center.” Hobson aptly critiques both the right and the left:  

We black women become easy targets of attack for two reasons:

1) Those who initiate the attacks–the Andrew Breitbarts of this world–feel they have social and cultural “permission” to do so.

2) Those who respond to these attacks by adding their own voices of condemnation–the initial responses of the NAACP and the USDA–which reacted to doctored video footage of Sherrod’s speech–feel that black women, as a group, can be sacrificed for political expediency.

However, in the defense of Sherrod we see a different but also problematic response to the black female body: the guilt of witnessing what liberal pundits like to term the “assassination,” the “lynching,” or the “bus-throwing” of the strong black woman. She is framed as the noble victim who stands firm against the winds of injustice because this world done her wrong. Her slow, defiant walk to the stake for her witch-burning (or lynching, as the case may be) inspires a different kind of racial guilt.

Read the full post  here.

-Bridget Crawford

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