Skip to comments.Dan Rather Apologizes for 'Watermelons' Comment (He really meant to say 'Fried Chicken')
Posted on 03/10/2010 11:29:24 AM PST by Zakeet
HDNet's Dan Rather, in a piece for the Huffington Post, apologized for his use of the word "watermelons" during a segment about Barack Obama's ability to pass health care, that was aired on the March 8 Chris Matthews Show. In his explanation Rather offers his Texas background as an excuse saying, "I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas" but then goes on to plead "I'm sorry people took offense."
The following is the most relevant portion of the statement, from the former CBS Evening News anchor, as it appears in The Huffington Post:
I was talking about Obama and health care and I used the analogy of selling watermelons by the side of the road. It's an expression that stretches to my boyhood roots in Southeast Texas, when country highways were lined with stands manned by sellers of all races. Now of course watermelons have become a stereotype for African Americans and so my analogy entered a charged environment. I'm sorry people took offense.
But anyone who knows me personally or knows my professional career would know that race was not on my mind. Reporting on the injustices of race was part of the reason I became a reporter. I grew up in segregated Texas on the same side of the tracks as the African American community. At the time, enlightened people called them Negros. Many people called them much worse. When I covered the Civil Rights movement, I saw sheer hatred in ways that still haunt and shock me. For doing my small part in reporting on the South in the 1960s, I was called a traitor to my roots and other names not fit for print. I was threatened with death by people who would have welcomed me to their church on Sunday on account of my white skin if they didn't know what I was there to do. I do not take this issue lightly.
I can understand why someone who just happened upon my comments could take offense or want clarification. But what has caused this comment to "go viral" is the trumpeting of an online and cable echo chamber that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo. Furthermore, even for those who brook no prejudice, when everything is condensed to 140 characters or a small YouTube clip, many people who got this "news" did so without any context, just a headline that popped up on their phone or inbox.
For the full piece visit The Huffington Post.
Keep digging, Kenneth.
This stereotype didn't exist when Dan Rather was a boy, it cam afterwards ("Now of course... have become...")?
Dan, you said Macaca and now must go on the air with Al Sharpton to apologize.
What a crappy appology. He did not say he was sorry for saying what he did. He said he was sorry that some people took offense. He took no responsibility for his statement; rather he appologized because some people took it the wrong way. What a wimp.
I've lived in Texas all my life, and I've NEVER heard that expression used.
I love it when a-holes step on the same landmine they buried.
It’s a good thing he didn’t say “pistachios”. The muzzies would be all over his SeeBS-looking @$$.
But I bet ol’ Dan’s busier than a one legged man in an ass kicking contest trying to backpedal over that remark.
Dan, you don't have a mind. We figured that out when you were trying to bring down Pres. Bush with a phony made up story.
Dan Rather gets hoisted by his own petard.
Dan, the gift that keeps on giving. And thats how it is America.
And who would know gossip, gotcha and inuendo better than you Dan?
Poor Dan and his fake ‘folksy’ persona. He is under enourmous internal pressure, trying to maintain two false-self systems at the same time (country boy and urban liberal). The watermelon comment is a ‘freudian slip’, a ‘tell’, or an ‘indicator’.
Most difficult for political progressives to constantly monitor what they say, and keep the list of forbidden words and phrases up to date.
I hate the speech police, so in an effort to be fair to all sides, I give ole Dan a pass.
It was Dan Rather and the scumbag left who gave us "the speech police".
..So screw that closet racist Dan Rather.
“.. that claims the banner of news but trades in gossip, gotcha, and innuendo.”
Well, if that isn’t the pot calling the kettle black!
Yet another liberal non-apology.
Won’t wash, Rather. You simply reaffirm that Liberals are racist. Always have been.
Sorry Dan all your apologies won’t conceal that you be a racist!!
I beg to differ.
What did he originally say? I’ve been looking but can’t find.
Somebody wake me when he's done typing...
The lady doth protest too much.
what does watermelons have to do with Obama? He was raised in whitelandia by his white mother. BTW how did he magically develop that “black” accent?
As much as I hate to give Dan a pass, I, too, don’t care much for the speech police. Additionally, people seem to be so easily ready to take offense.
Maybe when the weather warms up a bit he can join Biden and Obama in the rose garden for a beer— or some watermelon whine.
Tone deaf as always, huh Dan?
Steve Dunham was a very bitter child because he felt ostracized by blacks and whites as he grew up.
He couldn’t “appear white”, so he overcompensated and spent his life hating whitey.
Well, if that isnt the pot calling the kettle black!”
We have Billy to thank, 'cuz that is 100% authentic.
Old Dogs, Children, and Watermelon Wine.
(Even has an Asian theme to throw Tom Hanks into the mix:)
He really meant fried chicken AND watermelon.
Nice to see you two FReeper legends here.
Ah, good ol’ Tom T...
Anyway, having been raised in that environment, and having no real experience with black folks either save for that Ice-T video with the girl shaking her butt, I was entirely unprepared the day I saw a black guy at the side of the road selling watermelons from his pickup. I did a double take, burned a 180, and went back to get a closer look at this rarified specimen. Turns out he is a small farmer in the area. He sells what he grows, and at that point in the season, it was watermelon for sale. He works hard. I restrained myself for asking for a photo of him in front of his truck, (because that would have been awesome!) but I really did open my mind and learn something that day: Liberals from CA are close minded pricks!.
This occured on the road to Bryan, about 40 miles south, almost to highway 290. Apparently he is still there.
If Dan wasn’t a racist, he would have said “Couldn’t sell ice water in hell.”
What a d-bag!
Dan is scrambleing like a bunch of black guys trying
to throw a watermelon through a peach basket.
Wait, that came from my growing up in New Jersey where
sellers would line up at the side of the bus station
That I would believe Dan.
Always nice to see a liberal get in trouble for saying something that thin skinned people want to take offense at.
I must admit that I chuckled at it myself.
There are plenty of racist gaffes from the famous nightly news anchors. They just haven’t been released to the public. They are out there in the ethernet...