When I first heard about Sherrod losing her USDA job I was absolutely livid. This subject hits close to home as I have a passion for small-scale agriculture and know personally how important it is to have women and minorities within a government institution such as the USDA. It isn’t very widely spoken about, but the USDA has a long and recent history of discriminating against African-Americans.
Most know the details, Andrew Breitbart editing the hell out of a video in which Sherrod talks about her initial misgivings about a white farmer at an NAACP event and how she came to realize she had to move beyond race to help everyone she could keep their farms (Sherrod’s father was killed by white supremacists when she was young). So Brietbart posts this video saying he has “proof” the NAACP is a racist organization. His video only showed Sherrod talking about how she didn’t like the white farmer’s attitude and how she didn’t do everything in her power to help him right off the bat. The narrative given by Brietbart has been thoroughly refuted by the original white farmer spoken of and another white farm couple. The white farmers said they were very grateful to Sherrod and she was very caring, which is especially important for government agencies. No one wants to feel like the government doesn’t care about their problems.
Fast forward to Monday, Sherrod is told to resign from her job because the video will be an issue for the Obama administration. No investigation, nothing. Just resign. Then the NAACP condemned her statements to distance themselves from perceived racism. No investigation, nothing. Just condemn. Brietbart even accused the white farmer’s wife of not really being his wife to discredit her praise for Sherrod!
The NAACP and Obama administration threw Sherrod under the bus. They didn’t care that this woman worked years on behalf of small farmers and eventually rose to Director of Rural Development. They only moved to appease Tea Party types who have nothing better to do than look for examples of minority-on-white racism. People like Breitbart do nothing for this country but harm by hijacking meaningful conversations and turning them into circuses. The right wing again cowed the people in charge to dance for their entertainment. Some people are upset that others take issue with the way the White House and NAACP handled this, saying we shouldn’t turn against Obama and the NAACP, but I think it is fair criticism. We don’t expect Brietbart to be a prince, we expect him to be garbage. And he does this well. We do, however, expect more from the Administration and the NAACP.
Sherrod has been vindicated and offered a new position again with the USDA. She hasn’t decided yet if she’ll take it. Her credibility with her old position has been attacked and I don’t blame her for taking time to think on it.
Enclosed are some interesting blog posts from HP.
Shirley Sherrod, a Family Farmer’s Friend Willie Nelson!