*We don’t need Sarah Palin to lecture us about black history. In her new book, America By Heart: Reflections on Family, Faith, and Flag the right wing power broker who soared to prominence by demonizing President Obama and glorifying small-town white America expresses admiration for Booker T. Washington, who rose from slavery and abject poverty to become a leading force for black education in the late 19th and early 20th century.
But Palin’s respect for this African-American icon reflects an offensive misrepresentation of the black freedom struggle that is painfully common among white conservatives.
Sarah Palin praises Washington for developing Tuskegee Institute as if he was an anomaly; as if self-help and making a way out of no way was not the mainstream thing for black folks to do – which, of course, it was and continues to be.
Palin, like so many right wing whites, thinks that African-Americans have spent far too much time complaining about racism instead of working to improve our station in life. That, of course, is a deeply ignorant point of view.
Black Americans have always been about initiative, diligence, self-reliance and a striving for excellence. Our demands for social justice, equal opportunity and political remedies to institutionalized racism have always been reinforced by hard work.
The undaunted and tireless spirit of black America is summed up in James Brown’s classic musical proclamation: “I don’t want nobody to give me nothing, open up the door, I’ll get it myself.”
Sarah Palin obviously doesn’t understand that.
Bristol Palin’s “DWTS” Lesson
The Tea Party faithful who’ve been flooding the phone lines to make sure that Bristol “Bottom of the Leaderboard” Palin stays alive on “Dancing with the Stars” probably don’t realize that they’ve hurt their own cause.
By engineering victories over elimination for Sarah Palin’s lumbering, low-scoring daughter, right wing ideologues invalidated their own assertion that individuals should succeed on merit, not privilege.
This hypocrisy became hilariously clear last week when Gawker.com posted that excerpt from Sarah Palin’s new book, America By Heart, in which the quitter governor of Alaska blasts “American Idol” for presenting “talent deprived” contestants who can’t carry a tune.
According to Palin, the talentless “Idol” hopefuls are “victims of a cult of self-esteem” that hands out unearned rewards that lead to delusional thinking.
“No one they’ve encountered in their lives – from their parents to their teachers to their president – wanted them to feel bad by hearing the truth. So they grew up convinced they could become big pop stars like Michael Jackson.”
Those searing words could easily apply to Bristol Palin and her legions of Internet-coordinated supporters who dutifully dialed “DWTS'” toll free number even though Bristol’s clunky, passionless dancing landed her in last place six out of nine times. I guess they didn’t want her to feel bad by hearing the truth.
Bristol Palin’s showing on “Dancing With the Stars” is further proof that the Tea Party-led conservative movement cannot win in a fair competition. The only way Bristol Palin could survive on “DWTS” was through a massive phone effort that ignored her in-the-cellar scores.
The key to conservatives keeping President Obama off balance and trouncing his party in the midterm elections wins was to spend almost two years lying about Obama – telling the nation that he’s not an American citizen, that he’s secretly a Muslim who wants to aid terrorists, that he’s a racist who hates white people, that he didn’t act quickly enough on the BP oil spill, that his healthcare reform plan was a “government take over” that would destroy freedom and create “death panels” (we can Bristol’s mom for that disgusting bit of deliberate dishonesty), etc.
Sarah Palin’s “American Idol” rant is another part of the anti-Obama smear campaign. Palin lists the president among the culprits who are supposedly weakening our nation by “trying to convince our kids that hard work isn’t necessary anymore.” The truth is that Barack Obama’s life and career are exemplars of diligence and he has consistently urged hard work and sacrifice to our youth – from his “Yes we can” address on the campaign trail to his back-to-school annual speeches.
“Dancing With the Stars” doesn’t matter very much in the big picture of life. But the hypocrisy and scheming revealed by Bristol Palin’s success on “Dancing” does matter.
Thanks for listening. I’m Cameron Turner and that’s my Two Cents.
Watch Cameron Turner’s weekly television appearances on “The Filter with Fred Roggin” at www.NBCLA.com and read more “Turner’s Two Cents” on www.PasadenaJournal.com. Email Cameron at [email protected].