Sarah Palin is telling African-Americans that they don’t know what the word slavery means. Palin reacted to her use of the term slavery by saying that people are misinterpreting her.
TAPPER: So, you obviously feel very passionate about the national debt. The other day, you gave a speech in which you compared it to slavery.
PALIN: To slavery. Yes.
And that’s not a racist thing to do, by the way, which I know somebody is going to claim it is.
TAPPER: Don’t you ever fear that by using hyperbole like that — obviously, you don’t literally mean it’s like slavery, which cost millions of people their lives and there was rape and torture. You’re using it as a metaphor.
But don’t you ever worry that by using that kind of language, you — you risk obscuring the point you’re trying to make?
PALIN: There is another definition of slavery and that is being beholden to some kind of master that is not of your choosing. And, yes, the national debt will be like slavery when the note comes due.
TAPPER: So you’re not — you’re not work — I mean I’m — I’m taking it as a no, but you’re not — you’re not concerned about the language —
PALIN: I’m not one to be politically correct, evidently.
PALIN: And, no, I don’t — I don’t worry about things like that, because no matter what I say, no matter what a lot of conservatives say, they’re, you know, they’ll be targeted and distractions will be attempted to be made to take the listener and the viewers’ mind off what the point is, by pointing out, oh, she said the word slavery in a speech, and, I did say the word slavery, because I want to make a point.
TAPPER: You can understand why African-Americans or others might be offended by it, though?
PALIN: I — I can if they choose to misinterpret what it is that I’m saying. And, again, you know, I’m sure if we open up the dictionary, we could prove that with semantics that are various, we can prove that there is a definition of slavery that absolutely fits the bill there, when I’m talking about a bankrupt country that will owe somebody something down the line if we don’t change things that is, we will be shackled. We will be enslaved to those who we owe.
According to Webster’s Dictionary, slavery as a noun means, “the state of being a slave :the practice of owning slaves.” There is no meaning of slavery as Palin described it in the interview. All the definitions of slavery are related to owning other human beings as property.
Sarah Palin seems absolutely unaware of the fact that a white person telling African-Americans that they misinterpreted the term slavery reeks of both white privilege and racism. Palin is an example of the Republican Party’s attitude towards minorities. She doesn’t care if the use of the term slavery offends people. In fact, she probably hopes that it will offend people so that she will get even more attention.
Republicans are always trying to diminish slavery by comparing their own plight of maybe having to pay higher taxes, or the bills that our government ran up as slavery. The truth is that these things have nothing in common with slavery. The debt does not mean that the American people are literally shackled with no human rights. Paying the debt does not make Republicans property.
The legacy of slavery is alive and well in much of the racism that we see in our country today. The sort of racism that Sarah Palin has repeatedly used against President Obama.
All Americans know what Sarah meant, and her attempt to blame African-Americans and others for misinterpreting her only compounds the racism.
Mr. Easley is the founder/managing editor and Senior White House and Congressional correspondent for PoliticusUSA. Jason has a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. His graduate work focused on public policy, with a specialization in social reform movements.
Awards and Professional Memberships
Member of the Society of Professional Journalists and The American Political Science Association