Former Alaskan governor Sarah Palin has a new Facebook post out, accusing President Obama of lying to the American people, using language deeply entwined with America’s Jim Crow past.
Titled “Obama’s Shuck and Jive Ends With Benghazi Lies,” Palin’s piece lays out how in her mind newly revealed emails concretely prove that the Obama administration has lied about the Sept. 11 attack against a U.S. diplomatic mission in Libya:
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.
Palin’s title and final sentence show an extreme insensitivity to the racial history of the phrase. The concept of “shuck and jive” originated in the Deep South, as a term that referred to the overly subservient language that African-Americans used towards whites. Blacks, during the time of slavery or the Jim Crow segregation period, could shuck and jive to either put on the illusion of doing work when being watched or to feign obedience to those in power. While the phrase has morphed over the years to mean something more bland, akin to “acting facetiously,” the connection between the President’s race and Palin’s phrasing can’t be overlooked.