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Alaska Beat

Sarah Palin's 'shuck and jive' comment triggers a backlash

  • Author: Craig Medred
  • Updated: September 27, 2016
  • Published October 26, 2012

Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin says she meant no offense when she used the phrase "shuck and jive," according to Huffington Post. Earlier this week, Palin used the term to criticize the White House's response to the September 11 attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi.

"Why the lies? Why the cover up?" Palin wrote on her blog and her Facebook page. "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."

Backlash on Twitter, TV and the Internet followed. According to Huffington Post, CNN's Roland Martin said: "'Shucking and jiving' have long been words used as a negative assessment of African Americans, along the lines of a "foot shufflin' Negro." In fact, I don't recall ever hearing the phrase used in reference to anyone white."

According to a story in Newsday, "The 1994 book 'Juba to Jive, a Dictionary of African-American Slang,' says 'shuck and jive' dates back to the 1870s and was an 'originally southern 'Negro' expression for clowning, lying, pretense.'

Palin posted her choice of words on her Facebook page: "I would have used the exact same expression if I had been writing about President Carter, whose foreign policy rivaled Obama's in its ineptitude, or about the Nixon administration, which was also famously rocked by a cover-up."

A number of Democrats have also used the phrase, according to Palin. Among them: New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.

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