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Shirley Sherrod: Racist or scapegoat?

Were the administration and the NAACP too hasty in their reactions to Shirley Sherrod, the Department of Agriculture employee who resigned (i.e., was fired) for allegedly racist comments?

A video clip posted online Monday shows Sherrod delivering a speech at a March NAACP banquet, where she talks about her failure to help a white farmer who was in danger of losing his farm. Her suggestion: If he’d been black, she would have moved heaven and earth to help him. “There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person," said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, in accepting Sherrod’s resignation. The NAACP, which last week accused the Tea Party of racism, rushed out a searing condemnation of Sherrod: “We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers," said NAACP president Benjamin Jealous.

But I’m not so sure that this apparently quick and sharp rush to judgment was fair. The incident Sherrod recounts occurred more than 20 years ago, before she was employed by the federal government and while she worked for a Georgia organization that assisted farmers. One of the online snippets shows her all but saying she was wrong and explaining that the episode helped her to understand that race should not have played a role in the matter. Sherrod has since told CNN and the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that she worked for some two years to help the white man save his farm and that she and the man’s family ultimately became friends. Eloise Spooner, the wife of the white farmer, has confirmed Sherrod’s version of events.

Did the Ag Department fully vet this matter before ordering Sherrod’s removal? Did the White House or its political operatives have a hand in this personnel decision? Was Sherrod allowed to fully tell her side of the story before being axed? I’d like some answers.

Update, 6:05 p.m.: An earlier version of this post incorrectly reported that the white farmer is deceased. This error has been corrected in the text..

By Eva Rodriguez  | July 20, 2010; 12:38 PM ET
Categories:  Rodriguez  | Tags:  Eva Rodriguez  
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Comments

Be honest, if this was a white male conservative that admitted this the left and yourself would be demanding his head. But you cannot be honest because it goes against your grain to stick to the facts and not how you feel.

I am sick and tired of the hypocricy of the left and the Washington Post.

Posted by: Pilot1 | July 20, 2010 1:11 PM | Report abuse

If you are genuinely sorry for a horrible act such as this, you don't recount the story in a way guaranteed to provoke laughter against the victim. You tell what you did quietly and matter-of-factly, and you don't "all but say" you were wrong--you DO say you were wrong.

Posted by: beanyncecil | July 20, 2010 1:15 PM | Report abuse

Both Agriculture Secretary Vilsack and Ben Jealous of the NAACP owe Ms. Sherrod public apologies. The USDA should reinstate her immediately; it never had any grounds to dismiss her and should not have bullied her into resigning. Its behavior was a wretched abuse of process.

Posted by: Itzajob | July 20, 2010 1:23 PM | Report abuse

Want some answers? Then call the White House and ask them why they requested a resignation before the story ever hit the MSM.

You might also ask them if they have done their best to block the story since it has received almost no coverage on ABC, NBC, CBS, or the New York Times.

You might also call the NAACP and ask for videos of their conferences so you can find out if this was a rare anomaly or just a normal part of the curriculum

This story was available yesterday, but the Washington Post couldn't find it until today. Why not?

Just asking!

Posted by: pilsener | July 20, 2010 1:25 PM | Report abuse

As a white man I cant wait until Sherrod and her ilk are in charge of my heathcare. You should be ashamed for giver her cover. MAybe had she acted immediatly and not worried about the farmers race he would still be on his farm.

Posted by: j751 | July 20, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

A racist is a racist, whether black or white,period.

Posted by: fredtaylor1 | July 20, 2010 1:36 PM | Report abuse

Beanyncecil, I don't think Mr. Vilsack is sorry in the slightest. He's a politician. He doesn't care about the facts, or whose life he might destroy with slander, as long as it serves his political ends. From other news reports, it sounds like Mr. Jealous might wind up retracting his statement, but I doubt he'll apologize, either.

Posted by: Itzajob | July 20, 2010 1:37 PM | Report abuse

"MAybe had she acted immediatly and not worried about the farmers race he would still be on his farm."

Umm, the wife of the farmer told both the Atlanta-Journal Constitution and CNN that Shirley Sherrod helped save their farm and that she - the white farmer's wife - considers Sherrod a "friend for life".

So, Sherrod did help save the farm, the farmer and his wife were very grateful, and they consider her a friend for life. The farmer's wife told CNN that what has happened to Sherrod is "wrong".

Did you actually read the blog post above?

Posted by: shamey73 | July 20, 2010 1:39 PM | Report abuse

You are right, Rodriguez.

I say it was scapegoating.

I didn't know the facts that you gave in your article: 20 years ago, she was appologetic, she actually helped the guy, the guy became her friend...

She was scapegoated.

This is scary. We live in a political environment where anyone's past is liable to be 're-experienced' in accordance to today's emotional tones. We are at risk of being lynched for the political benefits of a few in power. THat includes organizational power, as in the NAACP.

I hope that woman sues everybody, NAACP, USDA, Obama, ...and win.

Posted by: coqui44 | July 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

The farmer is not deceased, he is 87 years old now.

Posted by: HoodwinkedNot | July 20, 2010 1:41 PM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod: Racist or scapegoat?

How about racist scapegoat?

I don't think she's a racist or deserved to be ousted. But if we are to hold everyone to the same standard, then yes she deserved it. If this were a white person saying they wouldn't help a black, then there would be more of an uproar.

Posted by: louisp3 | July 20, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Those were not allegedly racists comments you moron, they were racists comments. Look at and listen to the tapes.

Posted by: nychap44 | July 20, 2010 1:45 PM | Report abuse

Thank you for the rest of the story, Eva.

Posted by: CarolAnne1 | July 20, 2010 1:47 PM | Report abuse

The moral outrage on both sides of the NAACP/Tea Party debate is pretty laughable. Mark Williams claims that the Tea Party has no racists? Come on. Get 20 people together at a neighborhood block party and you will have a racist in your presence. And the NAACP, while they have accomplished many good things for African Americans, they are hardly the last bastion of unadulterated racial tolerance.

Read this article: Token White Member of NAACP Calls Tea Party “Racist”; Lone Black Tea Partier “Outraged”.

Very FUNNY!

http://www.dailygoat.com/?p=1798

Posted by: eye95 | July 20, 2010 1:48 PM | Report abuse

"Look at and listen to the tapes."

Oh, you mean the Breitbart edited tapes where he left out the part about how she learned via this experience that it's not always about race - ie, she was telling a story to teach a lesson. I think that the fact that the farmer's family a) credits hear with saving their farm and b) considers Sherrod a "friend for life" speaks volumes louder than Breitbart's strategically edited tape.

Posted by: shamey73 | July 20, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

So it's not fair to hold someone to stuff said and done years ago?

Tell that to Mark Furhman.

Posted by: louisp3 | July 20, 2010 1:49 PM | Report abuse

Read this Atlanta Journal article:http://www.ajc.com/news/farmers-wife-says-fired-574027.html

Explosive, including the fact that a woman from the White House called Sherrod 3 times one night to pressure her to resign! Very piss poor of an administration I support.

Posted by: jandmward | July 20, 2010 1:54 PM | Report abuse

I am a liberal, and I fully support the fact that Sherrod was forced out. This clip goes on for over 3 minutes, and virtually everything she said was blatantly, and obviously, racist. Here is what she said:

"What he didn't know while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me was, I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farm land, and here I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough, so that when he - I assumed the Department of Agriculture had sent him to me, either that or the Georgia Department of Agriculture, and he needed to go back and report that I did try to help him."

The kind of defense of these actions, cited in this article, makes me start to think that there may be more truth to the charges that are constantly leveled against the MSM...that is it, in fact, actively distorting the truth.

We CANNOT have government leaders who say things like,

"..I was faced with having to help a white person save their land. So I didn't give him the full force of what I could do."

Substitute any race for the word "white" in that sentence, and it is obvious.

We cannot have racists OF ANY COLOR in positions of leadership in our government.

I am baffled that this is even a debate.

Do you know how racist cops address the people they beat and brutalize? They call them "sir" or "ma'am" AS THEY BEAT THEM. Later, they will say that they did this "for their safety".

Dude, this is the most open and shut case of racism I've seen in the last 20 years. Obama was right to fire this woman.

She is not a scapegoat. At the VERY BEST, she is an idiot occupying a leadership position in the Federal gov. Most likely, based ON HER OWN 3 MINUTE SPEECH, she is a black racist.

I'd note that she was APPLAUDED by the membership of the NAACP in the clip. This is also very concerning to me.

Posted by: justaguy2 | July 20, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse

The white farmer is not dead. That statement is erroneous.

Posted by: tinaaccess3219 | July 20, 2010 1:58 PM | Report abuse

Was not Earl Butz fired for a lesser offense, was he a racist, a scape or just some one who said the wrong thing at the wrong time? Perhaps a post racial America is one in which people of all races, creeds, colrs, and religions are held responible ofr what they say and do. Shirley Sherrod was in fact racist, it took a long time for justice to catch with her but in the end justice triumped.

Posted by: joemahoney1 | July 20, 2010 2:00 PM | Report abuse

The headline reads:
"Shirley Sherrod: Racist or scapegoat?"

Her comments in the video are clearly racist. She stated she didn't help a white farmer because he was white. And what exactly would she be "scapegoated" for?

The article goes on to say:
"Did the Ag Department fully vet this matter before ordering Sherrod’s removal?"
A much better question would be "did the Ag Department fully vet this woman before appointing her to this powerful position?"
Obviously not.

The Obama admin has a troubling, ongoing record of appointing far left, racially polarizing characters to various posts. Van Jones comes to mind.

The facts are what the facts are Eva, and they are increasingly being brought to light. Despite apologists and white-washers and those who refuse to report or even investigate such unacceptable views and actions.

Posted by: spamsux1 | July 20, 2010 2:02 PM | Report abuse

hey Eva Rodriguez. the question is: why didn't the naacp say something when it happened AT THEIR MEETING?
getting that answer from the naacp would be reporting.

Posted by: me_wwwing | July 20, 2010 2:04 PM | Report abuse

This is what happens when you rush to judgment without the facts. In otherwords, parroting the right-wing blogs. F. Kelly 90

Posted by: fkelly90 | July 20, 2010 2:05 PM | Report abuse

We need to address all racism in government..period. And saying that Sherrod eventually did right by the white farmer is a lame excuse. She should do right by everyone equally all the time, without question. Her decisions should be based on law and federal guidelines, nothing else. By admitting that she allowed race to enter her decision making loop. She disqualifies herself from deciding who receives federal assistance.

Posted by: landfall23 | July 20, 2010 2:09 PM | Report abuse

The best way to keep racism alive and kicking is to diligently seek out "racist" comments no matter whether made innocently or intentionally, and blow them out of proportion. I do believe that if a white person had made a similar statement that he/she would have been hounded to death. Ms. Sherrod was trying to make a teaching statement that was incorrectly taken, and was not treated fairly. This is a good example of what will keep racism alive. Reinstate her.

Posted by: smith0360 | July 20, 2010 2:17 PM | Report abuse

i think everyone should be sure to read the comments from the farmers wife before they pass any judgment, just go to the Atlanta Journal Constitution for the story

http://www.ajc.com/news/farmers-wife-says-fired-574027.html

Posted by: 1dallas | July 20, 2010 2:19 PM | Report abuse

She was talking about the lessons she learned, and how wrong it is to make any judgment based on race. She was confessing to a lesson learned many years ago. If she lost her job, Jeff Sessions should resign, too.

Posted by: nita3 | July 20, 2010 2:31 PM | Report abuse

She was "fired" not just for racial comments, but racial BAHAVIOR. She openly admitted (which in no way absolves the misdeed) to mistreating a client based on the color of his skin. She not only harbored and expressed a racial viewpoit in her capacity as a public servant, she actually ACTED in accordance with that viewpoint and actively denied this client the federal assistance due him. Contrition aside, this person should certainly never again hold public position of any kind.

Posted by: KJR1 | July 20, 2010 2:36 PM | Report abuse

There is no judgement required in this story. She said what she said. The outcome of the issue doen't matter. Her "I had to do what I had to do..." Attitude says it all. I hate to use the trem racist but..Well she's a racist. Knowing that this is the type of person that is dollong out my taxes makes me wonder??? How much money did she give to people that didn't desreve it? Just blue skying here but...."Hey it's a black farmer; he must have been wronged, lets shoot him a few hundred grand. Holy snapping crackers,it's a white guy, let me check my morals before I help him and his family." How has that worked out for Mugabe? She did do better than Mugabe but not much.

Posted by: jmalinchalk | July 20, 2010 2:39 PM | Report abuse

Of course it was entirely predictable that that black racism would be defended by someone at the Post. I live in Los Angeles. Why not ask a Korean who runs a grocery store in South Central about black racism?

Posted by: Leopold1 | July 20, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Of course it was entirely predictable that that black racism would be defended by someone at the Post. I live in Los Angeles. Why not ask a Korean who runs a grocery store in South Central about black racism?

Posted by: Leopold1 | July 20, 2010 2:43 PM | Report abuse

Honesty is to be valued. Ms. Sherrod did not have to make known her actions of 24 years ago. I admired her for what she has reported, and I'm certain she was aware that doing so could only hurt her. I wish she had not resigned, and I wish that everyone had not so quickly distanced themselves from her. She should be applauded, not abandoned. We need people of her caliber and moral fiber as politcal appointee's. Thank you Ms. Sherrod for your service.

Posted by: Brinkite1 | July 20, 2010 2:47 PM | Report abuse

Is someone kidding here? At this point, nothing short of Ms. Sherrod and this (mystery) farmer holding hands and singing "Koumbaya" will change the impression that most of the public has gotten. Does Ms. Sherrod really need the services of an apologist like Ms. Rodriguez? Wouldn't she rather come make her case directly to the public? I don't think so. The video may have indicted her, but her silence will surely convict her. It almost hilarious that more of our esteemed media have not taken up this story. Imagine if a white christian male (other than Joe Biden) had made these remarks. Wow! Now that would really sell some papers!

Posted by: samspasswords | July 20, 2010 2:48 PM | Report abuse

Perhaps there is some sexism going on here. Perhaps Rodriguez thinks a woman can't be racist, and Sherrod was just being mistreated by her male bosses? Who knows.

Posted by: jckdoors | July 20, 2010 2:54 PM | Report abuse

They could shut down the whole USDA and this country would be better off. Just a bunch of lazy bureaucrats pushing paper around.

Posted by: Phil5 | July 20, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

Scapegoat. I believe Sherrod in that she was trying to explain a larger point...The point being that sometimes you feel hate in your heart, but you have to rise above that to do the right thing. I mean, the farmer's own wife agrees with Ms. Sherrod. I mean, let's be real...This is silly.

As far as the posts saying that if Sherrod would have been white people would have been calling for his head, how do you explain the media love for Mr. Robert Byrd (RIP). The man was a member of the KKK and kept his Government job for nearly 60 years! LOL...Never let the facts get in the way of a good story I guess.

Posted by: DCResident1 | July 20, 2010 2:55 PM | Report abuse

"So, I took him to a white lawyer ..... So I figured if I take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him."

That kind of thinking alone should result in her termination. What do you think would happen if any white public official made that same kind of comment to an African American. "Just have a seat, sir, and I'll get one of your own kind to take care of you".

Posted by: jimboster | July 20, 2010 2:58 PM | Report abuse

Would the NAACP have condemned her if they had just not got done demanding the Tea Party repudiate the racists among them?

How unfortunate for Ms. Sherrod. Her timing was just a bit off.

I am still waiting for the NAACP to condemn Al Sharpton for the Tawana Brawley affair. I am still waiting for them to repudiate the racists among their organization.

Persons and organizations who live by the racist accusation should not be surprised when they die by it.

Posted by: krankyman | July 20, 2010 3:02 PM | Report abuse

The woman confessed her sin and expressed remorse. Also, it seems that she took corrective action, so much so that the farmer's wife states that she did all she should to help them save their farm. Yet, she is still condemned by many. Shameful.

Posted by: jpw0527 | July 20, 2010 3:04 PM | Report abuse

Racist or scapegoat?

To a large extent the same question should be asked of the Tea Party movement by those who accuse it of being racist.

Rodriguiz's commentary seeks suggests a deeper and comprehensive nuance of Sherrod's racially-based statement.

Why not apply the same sort of comprehensive, deeper, nuanced understanding to the Tea Party.

My impression is that those who attack the Tea Party are as reactionary and agenda driven as those who attacked Sherrod.

Posted by: Bsix | July 20, 2010 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Wow. Those who are insisting to ignore the facts and continue to shout that this is a case of racism are without any sense of what is right or decent. Of course, that isn't the point. Just winning and destroying your enemies with whatever weapon you can use is all these people are about. The truth is expendable and lies have more traction with fools. The farmer's wife is defending the woman! Means nothing to those whose only value is how much damage can be done. Please lets not let this event go away. At some point someone has to ask 'have these people no sense of shame'.Is there no bottom to their drive to feed the lunatics among us?

Posted by: richarddyoung | July 20, 2010 3:23 PM | Report abuse

I think the action taken for an incident that took place 20 years ago is overkill. People tend to mature as they get older; I know I have. I remember my hatred for white people being brought about during the the 60s and 70s because of the KKK and the killing of blacks in the southern states. But I worked with whites and became good friends with them. I saw that every person should be judged by their character. Since Sharon did her job and became good friends with the farmer and his family, this should not be an issue today. I won't be judged by my past because that is not me today. Sharon shouldn't have been either.

Posted by: skinfreak | July 20, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

For decades now, white people have had their careers destroyed by baseless accusations of "racism."

For example: Nobel-prize winning scientist James Watson.

Therefore, I have no sympathy for Sherrod.

Since everyone takes great glee in pointing out that white people will be a minority in the US soon, you might as well start getting used to us acting like minorities now.


Posted by: pmendez | July 20, 2010 3:31 PM | Report abuse

This entire episode and reactions make it obvious that Americans are still very conflicted about race and have great difficulty handling such issues sensibly.
There is a long history behind this that will take time to dissipate. I am hopeful though that this is a phase that will eventually pass.

Posted by: serban1 | July 20, 2010 3:34 PM | Report abuse

I currently understand that the posted video was 'photoshopped' (aka edited) by a popular conservative blog operator to remove essential content and change the story.

The result was so incendiary that the WH demanded her resignation right away.

Photoshopping content in order to change the tone, character and content of the message is hugely dishonest. It isn't done often; doubtless the nature of the violation caught the WH completely off guard.

If this were a legit MSM source, people in the past who were responsible for much less overt edits have been summarily fired.

Posted by: crenelle | July 20, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

this is about the racist elements of the NCAAP and those members sitting there smiling while this dumb lady talks about being racist. some of them even voice approval. the NCAAP has no fewer racists in its rank than the tea party so if there is a reckoning, let there be a reckoning.

i wonder how shocked these leftist colmunists will be on nov. 3 when the wake up and realize they, along with barry, have been ignored by the american people?

Posted by: dummypants | July 20, 2010 3:40 PM | Report abuse

haha photo shoped, right, if it were that easy then breitbart would have paid out the 100k prize money already.

Posted by: dummypants | July 20, 2010 3:43 PM | Report abuse

Pilot1 is dead on in their comments. If the races of the people in the story had been switch people would be calling for blood.

Posted by: wolfcastle | July 20, 2010 3:45 PM | Report abuse


The details of the forced resignation of USDA official Shirley Sherrod are emerging and it looks like this woman was forced out because of a selectively and dishonestly edited video from a right-wing source. That is no surprise.

What's needed here is an explanation from U.S. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on why he demanded Sherrod's resignation based reports from an extremist hack and Fox "News."

http://blogs.ajc.com/jay-bookman-blog/2010/07/20/in-the-curious-case-of-shirley-sherrod-lets-see-the-whole-tape/

Posted by: losthorizon10 | July 20, 2010 3:49 PM | Report abuse

This Administration has nothing but knee jerk reactions to everything.


Totally clueless and more than a little dangerous.

They sue Arizona and then admit they never even read the bill and now this.

Cant wait for November and then 2012 so i can do more than voice my displeasure at this administration.

Posted by: PennyWisetheClown | July 20, 2010 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Amazing - Blacks can dump all over whites and the liberals makes excuses for this obvious racist behavior......disagree with the opinion or statement of an african American and one is immediately tagged as a racist....no wonder Amrica has turned against Obama and his socialist friends in the Democratic party.

Posted by: Realist201 | July 20, 2010 3:53 PM | Report abuse

Shame on the media, the US government and the few clappping idiots in the taped audience! Not quite sure if it is either ignorance or a willful misinterpretation of Sherrod's intentions, but in any case Sherrod is indeed a scapegoat. Sherrod was sharing a turning point in her life with an audience who didn't quite understand. I'm amazed at how quickly people are willing to jump on any story that could be misinterpreted as racist. If anyone should be called into question, it should be Obama for his involvement with a racist congregation. And again, if anyone should be asked to step down, it should be him. His complete disregard for this country baffles me. Turning Ms. Sherrod into a scapegoat does not make up for the inexcusable foolishness shown in the 2008 elections.

Posted by: tab44 | July 20, 2010 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Pilot 1. Be honest, if the Tea Party was a heavily majority African-American movement, would you consider its adherents a bunch of good, honest, Americans who are just concerned about their country? Or would you consider them borderline terrorist organization. You cannot be honest because you know how you would feel. I am sick and tired of the hypocrisy of the right and its chicken hawk follwers.

Posted by: Beantown317 | July 20, 2010 3:59 PM | Report abuse

I actually feel a great degree of sympathy for this woman and also am appalled by her naivety.

In this day and age to admit to learning a lesson about racism and showing you can grow is foolishness beyond reason. We must all do the right thing always.

Interesting that she was forced out even though she never committed a racist act within the DOA. But that is America today.

Posted by: krush01 | July 20, 2010 4:02 PM | Report abuse

Personally, I do not think we should go after a person for something which happened 20 years. I fear that we as a society are far too vindictive. I would say it is similar with Polanski and with people kept in prison after they have served their sentence. People change, and we have to remember that the person we are punishing may not be the same as the person who did the thing we do not like.

Given how angry and vindictive we are as a nation, no wonder we are dropping bombs all over the globe while other nations look at us in disgust.

And for the same reason, I disagree with the person who said, "I hope that woman sues everybody, NAACP, USDA, Obama, ...and win." That too is vindictive.

Ditto for attacks on the Tea Party. The charges of racism against them seem grossly inflated and are clearly being made to get political mileage.

Sherrod should be reinstated in her job and the matter should be closed.

Posted by: rohit57 | July 20, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

All the vindictive people who want Sherrod's head should read

http://www.ajc.com/news/farmers-wife-says-fired-574027.html

Here are a couple of quotes:

"The wife of the white farmer allegedly discriminated against by the USDA's rural development director for Georgia said Shirley Sherrod "kept us out of bankruptcy."

"Eloise Spooner, 82, awoke Tuesday to discover that Sherrod had lost her job after videotaped comments she made in March at a local NAACP banquet surfaced on the web."

Posted by: rohit57 | July 20, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

For some reason which I don't understand, my fellow Democrats seem to almost all believe the ends justify the means in this one particular case. It's almost as if the incident never happened, since she thought differently on it later. I don't quite get that logic. If a crime was committed and then later the perpetrator realizes it was wrong and denounces it, does that mean no crime occurred? I'm happy that Ms. Sherrod came to the conclusion that racism is wrong, but, it didn't seem to phase her as she sent the farmer to work his problem out with "one of his own kind". Shameful! The ends NEVER justify the means.

Posted by: bgansel9 | July 20, 2010 4:23 PM | Report abuse

If anyone of you have ever seen any kind of AA meeting, scared straight, DARE presentation, you know this is how it works:
You lead with an anecdote that say, shows how you were a really horrible drunk. The people watching who have been there, nod in approval. They know exactly what you are saying.
Then you move on to the part about how you saw what you were doing was hurting your family, making you a bad person etc and describe the change you made in your life to overcome your issue and saw the light.
This is speech making 101, it's leading with a hook and then making your point. Her point was CLEARLY that her behavior and attitude were unacceptable. That while racism does exist (on both sides) the problem is poverty.
Yes, what she said was racist, but she used it the same way a recovering addict admits he was once an addict.

Posted by: Bowedoak | July 20, 2010 4:44 PM | Report abuse

So much for picnic table diplomacy. The administration acted too hastily on this.

Posted by: kevnet | July 20, 2010 4:45 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is becoming a mess. On the one hand, this person may not deserve to be forced to resign. On the other hand, if Shirley Sherrod were a white male I seriously doubt that Ms. Rodriguez would be so sympathetic.

Posted by: bbface21 | July 20, 2010 5:14 PM | Report abuse

A white Male like Sen Byrd? He was KKK, he apologized and worked for African Americans in his state. Also, an update, it is being reported that her father was killed by a white farmer who was KKK. More context left out of the original story.

Posted by: Bowedoak | July 20, 2010 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Sherrod was making a speech to an NAACP banquet, right? Why did she feel comfortable telling this story to them? And why is the NAACP condemning her now, when it apparently didn't do so back then?

Posted by: tomtildrum | July 20, 2010 5:20 PM | Report abuse

What happened to Shirley Sherrod was a crime.

Rightwing propagandists did their thing, and Dem officials caved. (You practically have to catch republicans in the act of flirting with the cute pageboys, before getting one to disappear this fast. Pretty much all of the other bigots and extramarital family values crowd is still in office, with finger and toe nails dug into the furniture, if necessary. And friends to support and defend them, of course.)

She was robbed, by the White House and the media.

Now that we know the truth, I'd like to see her as quickly reinstated as she was let go. As the story continues to be told, we find more and more that she's not only an asset, but an inspiration to the department and the people she's helped through the years, black and white.

I fear that cowardice and an inability to admit error on the part of Vilsack and White House officials is going to prevent that, in which case I hope she sues everyone involved for wrongful termination. And wins. BIG.

My other wish, is that no one ever forgets the role that that snake Andrew Breitbart played in railroading this woman, and that he is never taken seriously by anyone but crackpots and extremists ever again. Perhaps the lesson that the media and the public failed to learn after the ACORN tapes and the Teabuggers will finally sink in. Andrew Breitbart is a liar and a propagandist and, unless you have the full raw video, you're likely being played for a sucker and a fool.

Media.
American people.

Andrew Breitbart is not your friend, and knows nothing of truth or honesty. He is a partisan propagandist and a self-promoting clown.

Please don't ever forget it, and never let him or any of his minions or media enablers so easily screw with another person's life and livelihood ever again.

Posted by: repsac3 | July 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

The facts clearly show this women has been maligned by the conservative right in another demonstration of their meanness. To call them out on their small mindedness is redundant because who would ever confuse a conservative with having a big mind or having compassion for their fellow man. Conservatism has shown for decades that they are a wrecking crew whose actions and thinking have harmed this country in every respect.

Conservatism....... the poison that keeps on giving!!

Posted by: Obadiah55 | July 20, 2010 5:23 PM | Report abuse

Hope Shirley has a good lawyer and they subpoena the phone records of the woman who was telling her the White House wanted her to pull over to the curb and resign NOW! RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISTS with BACKBONE, if there are any left anywhere need to get to the bottom of this.....or you and I could be the next ones to pull over to the side of the road! And you can bet the so-called journalists of NBC, CBS, ABC and CNN will be invited to drive right on by us and not look back!

Posted by: ddindenver | July 20, 2010 5:34 PM | Report abuse

As a white man I cant wait until Sherrod and her ilk are in charge of my heathcare. You should be ashamed for giver her cover. MAybe had she acted immediatly and not worried about the farmers race he would still be on his farm.

Posted by: j751
====
Don't you think you should read the story first?
Even Beck is defending the woman.
The point of her story is that she changed; she acknowledged a racial bias, something Tea baggers are loath to do, and then she did something about it.
And what on earth is heathcare?

Posted by: lewfournier1 | July 20, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

>Sherrod was making a speech to an NAACP banquet, right? [...] And why is the NAACP condemning her now, when it apparently didn't do so back then?

One, it was a local chapter event, not the national banquet.

Two, the point of her speech was to condemn the thinking she ascribed to herself 24 years ago. Breitbart just cut out that part for the video.

She recounted a cautionary tale of her initial prejudice and then how she spent two years working to make it right. She saved that family's farm.

How is she not a hero?

Posted by: MeriJ | July 20, 2010 5:35 PM | Report abuse

If you are a government official, telling a story about whopping one of those blacks on the head, even if it was a long time ago, and even if said black just loved you later, probably wouldn't be a good idea. It would be an even worse idea if said story was taped. And then you would get fired. It is a good thing, from time to time, to just shut up.

Posted by: powellsanmiguel | July 20, 2010 5:46 PM | Report abuse

How many white farmers were denied help before this bigot had her epiphany? Makes you wonder.

Also, more disturbing to me was the room full of NAACP attendees who laughed and clapped when she said she denied help to the white farmer.

NAACP is totally without relevance and is nothing more than a race baiting and bigoted organization.

Posted by: playfair109 | July 20, 2010 6:09 PM | Report abuse

First off the man (farmer) isn't dead.

Everyone appears to be behind the curve on this. I believe Sherrod recognized her first reaction was bigoted and off base and she corrected herself. That was what and why she presented it in the speech in the first place. She rose above her own bias.

The only party that hasn't made a fool of themselves is Sherrod herself.

I hope those posters who were so quick to condemn and call her a racist ruminate on what they wrote. It may lead to an epiphany for them.

Posted by: timothy2me | July 20, 2010 6:16 PM | Report abuse

"How many white farmers were denied help before this bigot had her epiphany? Makes you wonder."

This was in Georgia and those that were losing their farms were for the most part black farmers. If anything she was shocked to see it happening to a white farmer. She recognized the splinter in her eye almost at once. How long will it take you?

Posted by: timothy2me | July 20, 2010 6:23 PM | Report abuse

The media and the government need to know the entire truth of this story, and Breitbart should never again be called a "journalist."

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 20, 2010 6:41 PM | Report abuse

She wasn't working for the USDA at the time (24 years ago), and she and the farmer and his wife are close friends, and the wife is astounded that this has happened to Ms. Sherrod. I heard the call myself. She's in disbelief.

Posted by: MadamDeb | July 20, 2010 6:45 PM | Report abuse

Of course this woman was scapegoated...Of course, the facts of her story were not vetted by the WH, the NAACP, the Dept of AG or anyone else...In a country where we are cowards (yes, I said it) when it comes to issues of race and there is no such thing as an in-depth conversation on such a complication and divisive issue, a knee jerk reaction was made.

Posted by: mykaladrian | July 20, 2010 6:58 PM | Report abuse

As a white man I cant wait until Sherrod and her ilk are in charge of my heathcare. You should be ashamed for giver her cover. MAybe had she acted immediatly and not worried about the farmers race he would still be on his farm.

Posted by: j751 | July 20, 2010 1:29 PM | Report abuse

/// Rarely do I say this, but you are an idiot. The FARMER still has his farm. The FARMER'S wife said that Ms. Sherrod saved the farm.

This is just proof that there are people who will aid and abet the destruction of a person's reputation through the use of a complete lie. Ms. Sherrod is a perfect example of a person who rose above the petty and truly did a great service. The video was a complete lie. CNN has already shown the truth.

Posted by: Keesvan | July 20, 2010 7:27 PM | Report abuse


Before the full story of Shirley Sherrod was aired on Fox News, I had quickly jumped at the 'apparent' racism coming from Ms. Sherrod, and added my contempt and disgust along with others.

For that I am deeply sorry, and apologize to Ms. Sherrod and all others who were hurt by my earlier posts.

Ms. Sherrod is a hero and should be apologized to by those much more important than myself.

prossers7

Posted by: prossers7 | July 20, 2010 7:29 PM | Report abuse

Yes, Eva! Thank you!!

Posted by: uh_huhh | July 20, 2010 7:41 PM | Report abuse

Dumb negroes always play their hand, and hang themselves; they look at everything from a racial perspective, like always fighting the last slavery battle. They approach their jobs and positions from a standpoint of race, instead of a standpoint of competence. Hell, they discriminate against black people who don't act like negroes.

Posted by: hared | July 20, 2010 7:44 PM | Report abuse

Kudos to prossers7 for showing Vilsack how it's done.

Posted by: uh_huhh | July 20, 2010 7:54 PM | Report abuse

Your concern would be a lot more believable if you also showed the same concern in other cases. Where is the column noting that the Ron Paul newsletters occurred 20 years ago, that the comments were taken out of context, that they clearly do not reflect the views of the man today (nor probably then)? If you are only going to offer the benefit of the doubt in extending historical contextualism regarding people's (purported) past thought's and actions (and I think you should), you should extend it equally. Until then though, your demand for answers is not likely to be taken very credulously.

Posted by: chilli | July 20, 2010 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Uncontrollable laughter over prossers7's claim that Shirley Sherrod is a hero. The farmer in the story relayed to the NAACP is only one she's admitted--we don't know how many other whites were subjected to unfair treatment by this racist. And I guess it takes all kinds, but when I am confessing to a wrong I have done, I don't laugh, smile, chuckle. I just watched the video on the NAACP website, so don't even try to claim it's taken out of context. She is clearly proud of what she did, putting whitey in his place.

Posted by: beanyncecil | July 20, 2010 9:02 PM | Report abuse

By the way: Breitbart has known of this tape since April but passed on releasing it until the NAACP REPEATEDLY and FALSELY claimed that Tea Partiers used the "n" word.

Posted by: beanyncecil | July 20, 2010 9:06 PM | Report abuse

This whole story is becoming a mess. On the one hand, this person may not deserve to be forced to resign. On the other hand, if Shirley Sherrod were a white male I seriously doubt that Ms. Rodriguez would be so sympathetic.

Posted by: bbface21 |
====
If a white admitted he'd been a racist, but an episode in his life changed his attitude, I think we'd applaud. And that is what Sherrod was explaining. Look at the whole video. It's not that long.

Posted by: lewfournier1 | July 20, 2010 9:08 PM | Report abuse

Gosh, it does look like these comments were indeed taken way out of context. I feel sorry for this woman. Now you little liberal thugs see how it feels to be called a racist when you say something that the least common denominator doesn't understand. And, yes, if this were a conservative man, you'd still be calling for his head.

Posted by: CaughtInAMosh | July 20, 2010 9:28 PM | Report abuse

The NAACP engaged in some race-baiting with their Tea Party resolution, and Breitbart apparently returned the favor.

Sherrod was in the wrong place at exactly the wrong time...and ironically, she can thank the NAACP for her demise.

Posted by: diehardlib | July 20, 2010 9:29 PM | Report abuse

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack should resign immediately for his reprehensible treatment of Shirley Sherrod for speaking out honestly against racism.

There is no excusing it; he needs to go, now.

Posted by: Itzajob | July 20, 2010 11:36 PM | Report abuse

Breitbart is evil slime, and Fox is vile for pushing his baseless smears. They will all rot in hell.

Posted by: cythera45 | July 20, 2010 11:38 PM | Report abuse

I sent Pres. Obama this message via e-mail:
"REINSTATE USDA worker Shirley Sherrod!!!! Is that clear?"
YOU can do the same thing by going to:
www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
Granted, I think what happened and how it occurred was wrong in the extreme and want my voice to be heard.
If you don't agree...you have the same opportunity to voice yours using the web site I provided.

Posted by: littleprince1977 | July 20, 2010 11:41 PM | Report abuse

Should we not be asking instead, "Andrew Breitbart: A-hole or total A-hole?"

Posted by: fishman2 | July 21, 2010 12:02 AM | Report abuse

When I heard the Fox edition (on MSNBC) of this story I was embarassed and saddened by the apparent racism - now that I have the entire truth - I am embarassed by my ignorance. I hope Ms Sherrod is absolved - she obviously is not a racist.

Posted by: lmurphy_0607 | July 21, 2010 12:52 AM | Report abuse

You left wingers are the perfect model of hypocrisy. You clowns beat George Bush over the head with a 20 yr old DUI for months. According to the progressive intelligentsia of the year 2000, it was a deal breaker, Bush should drop out of the election. You only offer forgiveness to those that share your ideology. Thats why the only people that take progressives seriously now... are other progressives.

Posted by: landfall23 | July 21, 2010 1:33 AM | Report abuse

There is a special room in hell where demons will p!ss acid in Andrew Breitbart's and Roger Ailes's faces forever.

Posted by: cythera45 | July 21, 2010 2:34 AM | Report abuse

By the way, landfall23, the revelation of Bush's DUI came the *weekend before the election was held*. But what are a few facts to stand in the way of a good right-wing whine-fest. Idiot.

Posted by: cythera45 | July 21, 2010 2:35 AM | Report abuse

Just skimming through some of the comments, it's either 1 or 2 things, the bloggers that called her racist either did not listen to the entire tape but relied on FOX's condensed racist portion of the tape, or 2nd thing here is that some people are so racist they could care less about the truth. That is a sad thing about America but fortunately for us these die hard racist are disappearing.

Posted by: laj0321 | July 21, 2010 8:32 AM | Report abuse

Serious double standards. When someone dark in color states "My People" meaning "Black People", definitely can not be a racist right? If a light skinned individual made a statement like this they would be labeled, and distroyed right before your eyes!

Posted by: RPOSIO | July 21, 2010 10:37 AM | Report abuse

Shirley Sherrod has discovered that it's dangerous to make one's confessions in public, even if one's intentions are good. This was supposed to be her "Amazing Grace" moment, in which she confessed to the sin of racism, and described how she later found redemption and new understanding.

We had another one of those stories in the news recently. Many years ago, the late Senator Robert Byrd was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. But before he died, he said, "I know now I was wrong. Intolerance had no place in America. I apologized a thousand times ... and I don't mind apologizing over and over again. I can't erase what happened."

Shirley Sherrod can't erase her past mistakes either. Not everyone is capable of forgiving her for what she did, or even of understanding why she admitted to having made a mistake. It's clear from this incident that too many people will twist the meaning of a confession to suit their own purposes.

Posted by: notaliberalx | July 21, 2010 11:50 AM | Report abuse

Really cannot believe the ignorance in society. People only hear what they want. Did anyone listen to the entire clip. Breitbart should not only be sued but prosecuted as well. FOX news should be nominated for best fictional news station. The most one sided station out there. If they don't agree, or it doesn't suit FOX agenda, its not reported. And to some of the commentator's above you are the most narrow minded ignorant racist people and should be ashamed of yourselves. Listen to the whole tape people, clearly it was edited to make that woman look like a monster by leaving out crucial statements that clarify her meaning. Those who can't comprehend that are unfortunately pathetic followers that deserve ALL they get.

Posted by: dehnj | July 21, 2010 5:09 PM | Report abuse

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