29 Jul 2010 Shirley Sherrod Owes Andrew Brietbart an Apology
Washington, D.C. – Members of the Project 21 black leadership group are condemning the left’s false use of the accusation “racist” as a political tactic, saying they recognize the strategy from the teaching of left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky.
Former U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Chairman Mary Frances Berry, a long-time prominent liberal activist, has admitted in an interview with Politico that the left is trying to smear the tea party movement as “racist” for strategic reasons, not out of genuine concern that the movement is itself racist.
Berry called the tactic an “effective strategy” and chose not to denounce it.
“As an active participant in the tea party movement, I know the movement’s motivation is about Obama’s policies and not his race,” said Deneen Borelli, a Project 21 full-time fellow who has spoken at many tea party rallies and is scheduled to speak at the “Uni-Tea” rally in Philadelphia on July 31. “Race card politics is the last-ditch effort to shift the debate away from President Obama’s harmful policies such as the government’s takeover of health care and his failure to create jobs — both of which are having an impact on his popularity. This diversion may also help Obama to try to jam through cap-and-trade legislation through Congress. It’s a grand distraction from policies and may unfortunately increase racial tensions.”
Berry, now the Geraldine R. Segal Professor of American Social Thought and History at the University of Pennsylvania, was asked, “will branding the tea party ‘racist’ work?”
Tainting the tea party movement with the charge of racism is proving to be an effective strategy for Democrats. There is no evidence that tea party adherents are any more racist than other Republicans, and indeed many other Americans. But getting them to spend their time purging their ranks and having candidates distance themselves should help Democrats win in November. Having one’s opponent rebut charges of racism is far better than discussing joblessness.
“This is exactly the kind of thing that has irked me all of my adult life, to put it mildly,” said Project 21 member R. Dozier Gray. “This willful and purposeful use of the race card for nothing more than political gain is toxic to race relations, and Mary Frances Berry must know that. But she evidently does not care. Based on her comment, political posturing takes primacy over whatever real issues regarding race that she might pretend are her calling cards. I have seen this all before. I find it shameful.”
Project 21 member Bob Parks added: “What’s most disturbing about this very public quote? Not only is Mary Frances Berry making this comment without fear of admonishment, and that progressives have apparently embraced and are employing these very shameful, race-baiting tactics — but Berry is likely teaching this ‘social thought’ hate to children.”
Left-wing organizer Saul Alinsky, whose tactics have been studied and followed by Barack Obama and his followers, taught his activists to “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.” The Tea Party movement has unnerved the left and energized supporters of smaller government, causing the left to target it, as per Alinsky’s method, with bogus racism charges.
The Politico interview with Berry is available at http://www.politico.com/arena/bio/mary_frances_berry.html.
Project 21, a leading voice of black conservatives since 1992, is sponsored by the National Center for Public Policy Research (http://www.nationalcenter.org).