For the record, there was nothing remotely racist in my use of the phrase “shuck and jive” – a phrase which many people have used, including Chris Matthews, Andrew Cuomo, and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney to name a few off the top of my head. In fact, Andrew Cuomo also used the phrase in reference to Barack Obama, and the fact that Mr. Cuomo and I used the phrase in relation to President Obama signifies nothing out of the ordinary. I would have used the exact same expression if I had been writing about President Carter, whose foreign policy rivaled Obama’s in its ineptitude, or about the Nixon administration, which was also famously rocked by a cover-up.
I’ve been known to use the phrase most often when chastising my daughter Piper to stop procrastinating and do her homework. As she is part Yup’ik Eskimo, I’m not sure if this term would be deemed offensive when it’s directed at her or if it would be considered benign as in the case of Chris Matthews’ use of it in reference to Rachel Maddow. Just to be careful, from now on I’ll avoid using it with Piper, and I would appreciate it if the media refrained from using words and phrases like igloo, Eskimo Pie, and “when hell freezes over,” as they might be considered offensive by my extended Alaska Native family.
The outrageously outraged reaction to this expression from perennial hypocrites like Chris Matthews has only made me laugh. Mr. Matthews, let me share with you my favorite Irish toast: “May we always be happy, and may our enemies always know it.”
- Sarah Palin
Matthews said this earlier (via Newsbusters):
CHRIS MATTHEWS: The blatantness of this thing, I think, went through the roof the other day when Sarah Palin, about whom people have mixed views put out a Facebook post entitled “Obama’s shuck and jive ends with Benghazi lies” regarding to the Obama administration’s handling of the attack on the Libyan embassy. You know, a dog whistle is a dog whistle, Clarence. A trumpet call is another. Shuck and jive has a particular ethnic connection, not necessarily bad in all cases, it’s sort of slang. It doesn’t mean evil but to throw it at the president as an ethnic shot is pretty blatant.
JONATHAN ALTER: Chris, I actually think my old friend Clarence is being a little bit polite. I think this is rank racism. You know, sometimes people on the right get very upset when people on the left charge racism, but, you know, shuck and jive, that’s like talking about watermelon or, you know, for Jews, talking about Jews are greedy or the Irish are drunk, whatever. These are racist tropes and we need to call them what they are, and I actually think at least implicitly Trump was playing on racism today with his ridiculous stunt demanding Obama’s college transcripts.
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