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Sarah Palin’s ‘shuck and jive’ remark racially insensitive

Sarah Pal |  Charles Krupa~AP file photo

Sarah Palin | Charles Krupa~AP file photo

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Updated: November 26, 2012 7:17AM



I’m not shocked by former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s racially offensive “shuck and jive” remark.

Like political yakker Ann Coulter, who apparently thinks it’s a sign of her genius to call the president of the United States a “retard,” Palin has become famous because of her irreverent comments, and these days irreverent often means racist.

The Internet blew up Wednesday after­noon about Palin’s Facebook post titled: “Obama’s Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies.”

“Why the lies? Why the cover up? Why the dissembling about the cause of the murder of our ambassador on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks on American soil? We deserve answers to this. President Obama’s shuck and jive shtick with these Benghazi lies must end,” the 2008 vice presidential candidate wrote.

What shocks me is that “shuck and jive” is the kind of derogatory expression that I’d expect someone from down South to throw around rather than a white woman from the Alaskan wilds.

What does she know about “shucking and jiving?”

But then as late as 2010, Alaska was still trying to scrub racist names from its maps. Students at a local middle school in Fairbanks discovered racially derogatory names such as “Negrohead Creek,” and Negrohead Mountain,” both names that had been changed from the original native names, were still on topographical maps.

So it’s not as if Palin doesn’t know that America, and that includes Alaska, has a lot of racial baggage.

I could excuse Palin’s put-down of the nation’s commander in chief had she dipped down in her own bag of insults and left it at that.

After all, for the last four years, President Barack Obama’s opponents have had no qualms about disrespecting him on talk shows, in print and to his face.

Previously, Palin glibly quipped: “If he doesn’t have a “big stick to carry, maybe it’s time for him to grow one,” in criticizing the president on foreign affairs.

That kind of sexual innuendo has no place in civil discourse and certainly shouldn’t have been elevated to the level of political commentary.

Now this.

African Americans have heard so many white pundits use racially insensitive language to criticize the nation’s first African-American president, and they have sucked it up.

After all, what first black anything didn’t have to endure racist taunts.

But Palin used language that is not only linked to slavery and Jim Crow but is associated with the kind of “clowning” that educated black people frown upon.

Palin doesn’t know anything about that.

If she did, she wouldn’t have accused a Harvard-educated black man who rose to become president of the United States of “shucking and jiving.” That’s would be like me calling the former governor and GOP vice presidential candidate Honey Boo Boo.

“Shucking and jiving” is what “Amos and Andy” and their sidekick “Kingfish” did every week to wiggle out of tight spots.

The assault on the American consulate in Libya in which four Americans were killed, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, was a tragedy that has cast a cloud over the Obama administration and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.

But at no point has anyone, including Palin, suggested that Clinton is “shucking and jiving” as she tries to unravel the events leading up to the attack.

In fact, as pointed out by political analyst Roland Martin, I’ve never heard a white person accuse another white person of “shuck and jive.”

Recently, ads aimed at stopping kids from bullying are popping up in major papers. Maybe we should do the same for these so-called political commentators.



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