July 23, 2010
The case of an Agriculture Department employee who was fired for supposedly making racist remarks about a white farmer is - as Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsak said - a "teachable moment." But what does it teach?
The soundbite of Shirley Sherrod appeared to out her as a racist, but when the full content of her remarks was made public, it was clear she was telling a story about overcoming her prejudices.
She was fired unceremoniously and when the rest of her remarks became public, was offered a new job. It didn't help that she talked only to the leftist group Media Matters and blamed Fox News.
What this incident teaches us is that racial politics is alive and well for the left and right. The problem for blacks is that it hasn't gotten them anywhere. Playing racial politics, as the NAACP does in claiming the tea party movement is racist, doesn't produce one job, restore one family or keep one black male from prison. It does produce votes for Democrats, though, and that's the point, isn't it?
Cal Thomas is a nationally syndicated columnist based in Washington, D.C.