Friday, September 2, 2011

The Help 2: "I did not apologize!" Starring Jackie Clarkson

Below, excerpts from the Library Chronicles Blog, which posted some excellent commentary today on the Jackie Clarkson Controversy:
Even if we were in the mood to be charitable toward Jackie...we still have to point out just how easy it could have been for her to better handle this situation. All she had to do was say something like, "You're right. It's true that New Orleans in the mid 20th Century, like much of America, experienced a tremendous economic expansion, but we still had a long long way to go to make the benefits of that expansion available to everyone. Just like today we face these same kinds of challenges... blah blah."...
A statement like that would have clarified her "40s and 50s" remarks while also acknowledging the underlying reason why what she clearly believes is a misinterpretation of them would rub people the wrong way. Unfortunately she made it too difficult for us to tell just what her intentions were because she chose, instead, to root her rebuttal in an increasingly embarrassing appeal to #standing.

Rather than attempt to show she understood where her critics were coming from, she stubbornly whipped out just about every cliche from the Stereotypical Aging White Guilt Travel Purse she could grasp at from "My family once owned property in this neighborhood!" to "Some of my best friends are..." to "Haven't I always treated you so well?" It was so cringeworthy, it was like watching Steve Carrell's character in The Office address a "conference room meeting" on diversity....

But there comes a point beyond which our sympathy will extend. When we arrive the next day at ”I’m sorry that there were a handful of people in the crowd that didn’t appreciate what I’ve done for them,” it's pretty obvious that someone isn't even trying.
The blog also quotes from a Gambit article on NORD from last year:

"It didn't matter if you were Uptown, downtown, rich or poor," Clarkson recalls. "You either volunteered, coached a team, or wrote a check. NORD was public and private, it was black and white — though separate — and it was athletic as well as artistic.

"My father never built a white playground without building a black playground," she adds.
The Library Chronicles blogger rightly notes the logical conclusion to draw from these comments:
That looks to me like Jackie is having trouble with more than just choosing the right words. It sounds more like she still doesn't, after 60 years, really agree that there was a problem in the first place. Which might explain better than anything why she's been less than pliable on the matter, even when others step in to speak for her.

Though Landrieu, upon recovering the microphone, said that Clarkson had apologized, it is unclear if she did so.

After Landrieu commends her for apologizing, she can be heard on video saying, “I didn’t apologize.”

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