Sunday, July 25, 2010

Frederick Douglass Foundation of New Jersey President Vanessa Jean Louis: Lessons from the Shirley Sherrod Incident

After years of being a School Counselor in the inner city, I think one of the most important things I’ve learned, from some of my most challenging students, is that everyone has a need to be understood. At the heart of our emotional trauma and at the epicenter of externalized conflicts, is a deep rooted yearning for others to understand our perspectives. Ok, so, psychobabble aside, the last few days, I’ve watched the Shirley Sherrod debacle unfold, and although it’s a political arena full of adults, the same rules apply.

I’m not taking sides, because I can empathize with both sides. Indulge me a bit. At the core of Andrew Breitbart’s "exposé" was a deep seated pain at the idea that because he affiliates with the Tea Party movement-he is somehow this covert white supremacist operative clandestinely attempting to take this country back to the dark ages when Blacks weren’t afforded the same constitutional protections as White males. Excuse me, but that’s HIGHLY offensive to people who are primarily committed to fighting against what they feel are policies that are eroding our Constitution. Breitbart’s original intent was to prove a larger point which is, as we’ve seen with the recent Black Panther voter intimidators (who want to kill “cracker babies”), that there are nutcases on both sides.

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