Sarah Palin has come under fire for a Facebook comment where she used the phrase “shuck and jive.” The title of the Facebook note, “Obama’s Shuck And Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies,” also uses the phrase. This is the full context of what she had to say:
“As I mentioned on “On the Record” last night, there is breaking news that just two hours after the September 11th attacks on our consulate in Benghazi, the White House and State Department knew that an Islamic terrorist group with ties to al Qaeda claimed credit for the attack. We now know that the State Department sent an email to the White House, the Pentagon, the FBI and others in the intelligence community about this Islamist group claiming responsibility. And yet for days afterwards the White House and State Department led everyone to believe that the attack was the result of a spontaneous protest over an obscure YouTube video that had been uploaded months prior. Anywhere from 300 to 400 people from the administration and our intelligence community would have seen that email. 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.”
The phrase “shuck and jive” is considered to be offensive because it originated with African-American slaves who were deceiving their slave masters. Sarah Palin today responded on Facebook to these allegations that she was purposefully being racist:
“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.”
If what Sarah Palin says about the usage of the phrase “shuck and jive” is true, it sounds like she is being singled out due to her opposition to Obama’s handling of the Benghazi, Libya situation. Focusing on her choice of words distracts from the overall substance of the message.
Sarah Palin “might” have a very good memory where she can recall the usage of the “shuck and jive” phrase off the top of her head, but personally I had to google it. In 2008, former New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo said of Barack Obama: “You can’t shuck and jive at a press conference.” On September 7, 2011 , Jay Carney, a spokesman for President Obama, told the press corps, “Sorry. I’m going to shuck and jive! Time to shuck and jive.”
Chris Matthews, who is attacking Sarah Palin for the usage of the phrase, used “shuck and jive” himself in 2010. Fast forward to 5:25 to see it yourself:
What do you think about Sarah Palin using the phrase “shuck and jive”; purposeful racism or an unintended poor choice of words?