Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?
by jdusek, Fri Apr 25, 2008 at 12:27:24 AM EDT
Linfar's diary about the role that class plays in this election has prompted a lot of comments about electability and race. Overlooked in the discussion is an alarming quote that the diarist attributes to Rev. Al Sharpton:
Al Sharpton on Feb. 17 called Hillary supporters, "uneducated, redncked white trash."
That's quite a thing for Sharpton to say. I hadn't heard this quote before, so I did some checking to try to find the source. I googled it, but nothing came up.
Then I found a February 17 posting on a forum called city-data.com that used the phrase "uneducated, redneck white trash" in a thread about Sharpton.
But here's the thing: the quote isn't from Sharpton, it's from a pro-Clinton forum member named BVH in response to some earlier remarks from an Obama supporter:
The Obama supporter had written that his candidate was favored by the "most progressive people in this country" and not by the "rednecks, white trash, underachievers, and excuse-makers."
BVH took this as an attack on Clinton supporters and responded:
Calling the Hillary supporters uneducated redneck white trash?!?!? What if us "uneducated redneck white trash" started tossing around the "N" word?
Is there no limit to what some Obama supporters feel is appropriate?
So what does this have to do with Al Sharpton?
Almost nothing. The comments were made in a thread about a letter Sharpton wrote to the DNC opposing seating Florida and Michigan delegates. Sharpton's letter says nothing about Clinton supporters, and it certainly doesn't say they're rednecks.
So, it appears the true source of linfar's quote was a Clinton supporter, not Sharpton, who was paraphrasing something someone else had written on a message board.
I'm fascinated by how things like this get passed down. Someone says something controversial, it gets quoted and copied, emailed, loses its original context, and is eventually attributed to someone else. It's like those fake chain emails claiming that George Carlin (an atheist) loves Jesus or that Jay Leno thinks the war in Iraq is going great.
My point in writing this is not to suggest that linfar knowingly attributed the quote to Sharpton. No, my point is that false quotes spread quickly online. As another example, a recent diary by Alegre included excerpts from an article by Peter Daou that falsely attributed several quotes to Obama. Daou got it wrong, it got reposted here and who knows where else, and no retraction can stop it from spreading even further.
I've fallen victim to this myself. It's easy to copy and paste something without verifying it first. I hope that people will check their sources before putting people's words in quotes, and I hope that MyDD members will continue to correct information that is found to be inaccurate.Update [2008-4-25 18:34:25 by jdusek]: Over at SavagePolitics.com, linfar is disputing my claim that Sharpton did not call Clinton supporters "uneducated, redneck white trash." I think I've provided evidence that this is a false quote, but if anyone can point me to a source of Sharpton actually using this phrase, I will apologize here and at Savage Politics.