Washington Babylon — July 26, 2010, 8:40 am

Class: The unspoken word of the Shirley Sherrod affair

Michelle Singletary couldn’t quite bring herself to say the word — she used the term “” — but her column otherwise nailed the real story.

Instead of focusing on the politics behind the firing and subsequent redemption of Agriculture Department employee Shirley Sherrod, we should consider what she was trying to tell us when she addressed the NAACP…There is a disturbing and widening gulf between the rich and the poor in America. And it would be even wider except for the fact that so many middle-income families have borrowed their way to a comfortable lifestyle. They are just a paycheck, a divorce or a heath crisis away from financial ruin.

Sherrod said that while working with the white farmer, she realized that the social war we’ve been having isn’t about race but economic inequity.

“Y’all, it’s about poor versus those who have,” Sherrod said in her speech. “It’s really about those who have versus those who don’t, you know. And they could be black; and they could be white; they could be Hispanic. And it made me realize then that I needed to work to help poor people — those who don’t have access the way others have.”

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I sat in a taxi with Emma and her son, Stak, all three bodies muscled into the rear seat, and the boy checked the driver’s I.D. and immediately began to speak to the man in an unrecognizable language.

I conferred quietly with Emma, who said he was studying Pashto, privately, in his spare time. Afghani, she said, to enlighten me further.

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