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August 16, 2011

Out-of-context Perry quote leads to race controversy

  • controversy On Tuesday, Rick Perry gave a speech in which he referred to a “big black cloud” hanging over America. The propagation of this quote by Ed Schultz and ABC News led to charges of racism against Perry.
  • explanation Both the Ed Schultz edit and the ABC quotation excluded Perry’s full comments, wherein he makes it explicitly clear that the “big black cloud” to which he refers is the nation’s debt. Not, as Schultz claimed, the President. source

» There are several different elements to this. First and foremost, two respected media outlets provided a half-quote when they should have provided a full quote. The intent (if any) behind the ABC article is debatable—they later updated it to make Perry’s comments clearer—but Ed Schultz was being flatly disingenuous when he said that “[the] black cloud Perry is talking about is President Barack Obama.” It wasn’t, and that was clear in the original quote. However, it is legitimate to ask whether or not the phrase “big black cloud” was consciously chosen to evoke—however subconsciously—racial imagery. The whole strategy behind race-baiting is to suggest race with a veil of plausible deniability, and while it’s not at all clear that Perry was doing this, it’s at least a fair question to ask. What do you think?

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21:39 // 2 years ago