No doubt Beaumont's legions of readers are familiar with the Shirley Sherrod debacle. After the initial video, the firing, the extended video, the apologies, and the media hand-wringing, many seem to feel that the issue was just a tragic misunderstanding.
Not so fast.
True, Ms. Sherrod is on record saying that she realized that her racist reaction to the white farmer's plight was morally wrong, and that the real struggle was rich versus poor.
The sorry truth is that class warfare and racism have enjoyed a long and close association in some black political circles. Classism is a prominent feature of "liberation theology", as Jeremiah Wright preached to our President for twenty-three years. (I highly recommend Mr. Wright's sermons available on the Web, to experience the real flavor of the worldview of his -- and many other -- such churches).
It's true that racism is detrimental to freedom and prosperity. It's also true of classism. Both separate "our group" from "those bastards over there". Both encourage resentment, polarization, and ultimately violence. Considering the effects of either on society, the question becomes: Is there really a practical difference between the two?