By john a. powell,
After an intense and shameful week of poorly dealing with ex-USDA worker Shirley Sherrod and issues of race, the country is left trying to make sense of where we are and why issues of race seem so hard and intractable. There have been many editorials and stories — many of them very thoughtful. There are questions of blame and many apologies. But what should we do to go forward?
There have been calls from both the left and the right for leadership on race from the White House. Professor Charles Ogletree at Harvard, who is a former teacher of President Obama; Wade Henderson, CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights; and Ward Connerly, best known for his campaign against affirmative action, all have called for a national dialogue on race. But David Axelrod, speaking for the White House, made it clear that there is no interest in even considering that, or any other direct engagement on the matter of race. Axelrod’s rejection was as quick as the original commendation of Shirley Sherrod. So much for being more reflective on important matters.