*Former vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin released a statement on her Facebook page accusing President Obama of engaging in “shuck and jive shtick” regarding last month’s attack in Benghazi, Libya.
“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,” Palin wrote.
“Shuck and jive” is historically a racially-tinged expression. According to the user-submitted Urban Dictionary, the term “originally referred to the intentionally misleading words and actions that African-Americans would employ in order to deceive racist Euro-Americans in power, both during the period of slavery and afterwards.”
As Politico points out, this isn’t the first time the phrase has come up and inspired controversy. Several years ago, Andrew Cuomo, then New York’s Attorney General, used the expression while campaigning for Hillary Rodham Clinton. “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference,” Cuomo said. “All those moves you can make with the press don’t work when you’re in someone’s living room.”
Cuomo was promptly blasted by CNN’s Roland Martin, who wrote: “‘Shucking and jiving’ have long been words used as a negative assessment of African Americans, along the lines of a ‘foot shufflin’ Negro.’ In fact, I don’t recall ever hearing the phrase used in reference to anyone white.”
Earlier this week, conservative pundit Ann Coulter inspired outrage when she called President Obama a “retard” following his Florida debate with GOP challenger Mitt Romney. An athlete with Down Syndrome wrote an open letter to Coulter in response. “Come on Ms. Coulter,” he wrote. “You aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?”