Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

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 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, 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.

Tags: Class, clinton, obama, Sharpton, White Trash (all tags)



Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

Who cares he is against democracy.

He is no better than Dean and Pelosi

by DTaylor 2008-04-25 12:30AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

I would hope that everyone would care about not putting words in someone's mouth.

There have been a lot of false quotes about what Bill Clinton did or did not say regarding South Carolina. That doesn't bother you?

by jdusek 2008-04-25 12:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

Its like arguing over if a murderer lied to gain admission to the building or if the used honest persuasion.

If he is trying to kill democracy thats MUCH MUCH more serious than calling someone names.

by DTaylor 2008-04-25 01:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

Huh, ok cool so if Obama supporters start quoting Hillary talking aobut "Coons" and other racial slurs and say their direct quotes that's okay with you and you wont object in the slitest, man your worse than Hillary and she said the Holocaust was "a good start!"

by Socraticsilence 2008-04-25 02:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

linfar's diary should be removed from the rec list for that and other reasons, such as the last few lines:

When death reigned out of the sky on 9/11, 2001, and stock brokers and financial analysis's were running downstairs out of the burning towers, firemen were running  upstairs to rescue the wounded and the helpless. Over 200 white guys gave their lives that day in the service of their country.  And the whole world took their hat off to them. It is about time the Democratic Party did the same.

In addition to making shit up about Sharpton, linfar apparently believes there were no black firemen who gave their lives on 9/11.

by Skaje 2008-04-25 12:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

Fair point.  I assume there were.

But the pissing on the flag the week of 9/11 thats a no go from Rev Wright.

That whole church is toxic for tolerating that.

Obama was a member of it.

I assume linfar's comments were in that context.  If not maybe they were out of bounds.

There are some slight racial tones against Obama, but they are less than the relatively direct in your face racial tones that have come from the Obama campaign.

Jesse Jackson Jr's No tears for Katrina is like the "George Bush hates black people quote"

WTF who in their right mind thinks a sucker punch like that against the CLINTONS is fair game??????????

And "typical white people" in the context of someone you just called racist the day before.......

And his books....

Obama has admitted being personally more racist than anyone I have seen attack him at MyDD

That makes me red hot mad.

by DTaylor 2008-04-25 01:19AM | 0 recs
Re: Classism: Did Sharpton Really Say That?

red hot mad was in context to calling the clintons racist.

by DTaylor 2008-04-25 01:20AM | 0 recs


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