Do you think this USDA Director's comments were racist?

by UnConfused 23 Replies latest social current

  • UnConfused

    WASHINGTON – A black employee who resigned from the Agriculture Department over comments at a Georgia NAACP meeting said Tuesday the White House forced her out of her job over a manufactured racial controversy.

    Shirley Sherrod, who until Tuesday was USDA's director of rural development in Georgia, said she was on the road Monday when USDA deputy undersecretary Cheryl Cook called her and told her the White House wanted her to resign. "They called me twice," Sherrod told The Associated Press in an interview. "The last time they asked me to pull over the side of the road and submit my resignation on my Blackberry, and that's what I did."

    A USDA spokesman would not comment on whether the White House was involved, but Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement saying the agency has no tolerance for discrimination.

    The NAACP, meanwhile, appeared to be reconsidering its response to Sherrod. The civil rights group initially condemned the employee's comments, but officials said Tuesday that it is conducting a more thorough review.

    The controversy began Monday when the conservative website posted a two-minute, 38-second video clip of Sherrod's remarks to a local NAACP banquet.

    In the video, Sherrod talks about the first time a white farmer came to her for help when she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group in 1986. She said he came in acting "superior" to her and that she debated how much help to give him.

    "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland and here I was faced with helping a white person save their land," she said.

    Initially, she said, "I didn't give him the full force of what I could do" and only gave him enough help to keep his case progressing.

    But, she said, his situation ultimately "opened my eyes" that helping farmers wasn't so much about race but was "about the poor versus those who have."

    The video ends before her speech concludes. Sherrod said Tuesday the clip appears to intentionally misconstrue the message of the story, which is that the case taught her that whites are struggling just like blacks. She says she ultimately became close friends with the farmer and helped him for two years to save his farm.

    "My point in telling that story is that working with him helped me to see that it wasn't just a black and white issue," she told The AP. "That's why I take the time to tell that story is to tell people we need to get beyond it and work together."

    Sherrod, who became USDA's director of rural development in Georgia last year, said the administration showed a lack of backbone in its reaction., which gained fame after releasing video of workers for the community organizing group ACORN counseling actors posing as a pimp and prostitute, offered the video as evidence that the NAACP condones racism.

    The national NAACP, which recently accused the Tea Party of condoning racist elements, immediately responded by condemning Sherrod's comments and supporting USDA's handling of the matter.

    "According to her remarks, she mistreated a white farmer in need of assistance because of his race," NAACP President Benjamin Todd Jealous said in a statement Monday night. "We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers."

    After years of civil rights lawsuits against the agency, Vilsack said USDA has "been working hard through the past 18 months to reverse the checkered civil rights history at the department and take the issue of fairness and equality very seriously."

  • beksbks
  • UnConfused

    Oh thanks. Didn't realize. I don't think she's a racist and should not have been fired. Unlike Jesse Jackson who is not only a racist, in my opinion, but profits from it - which he stokes.

  • Think About It
    Think About It

    How can this nice lady be forced to resign her job over something said 24 yrs ago that was taken out of context, and Sen. Robert Byrd been allowed to be a Senator all those years despite admitted involvement in the KKK?

    Think About It

  • beksbks

    This woman was treated despicably. I have to believe the situation will be corrected.

  • mrsjones5

    Sounds like some folks jumped the gun before hearing the full story.


    In the video, Sherrod talks about the first time a white farmer came to her for help when she worked for a nonprofit rural farm aid group in 1986.

    She said he came in acting "superior" to her and that she debated how much help to give him.

    You won`t get results if you need help and take a superior attitude,with people in Authority..

    It doesn`t matter what colour you are..

    The Black Woman now has a different viewpoint on White Farmers..

    Both the Black Woman and the White Farmer,are better educated now..

    I`d give them both a pass..

    ..................... ...OUTLAW

  • wasblind

    I agree Outlaw

  • UnConfused

    Is that true about Sen Byrd that he was in the KKK? OMFG! That would be off the charts f'ed up. (not unlike Ted Kennedy killing a woman and getting in the Senate)

  • Think About It
    Think About It

    Is that true about Sen Byrd that he was in the KKK? OMFG! That would be off the charts f'ed up.

    Here's some Wiki info about Byrd's involvement in the KKK, something he later regretted very much.

    Ku Klux Klan

    In the early 1940s, Byrd recruited 150 of his friends and associates to create a new chapter of the Ku Klux Klan. [10]

    According to Byrd, a Klan official told him, "You have a talent for leadership, Bob ... The country needs young men like you in the leadership of the nation." Byrd later recalled, "suddenly lights flashed in my mind! Someone important had recognized my abilities! I was only 23 or 24 years old, and the thought of a political career had never really hit me. But strike me that night, it did." [10] Byrd held the titles Kleagle (recruiter) and Exalted Cyclops. [10] When it came time to elect the "Exalted Cyclops," the top officer in the local Klan unit, Byrd won unanimously. [10]

    In 1944, Byrd wrote to segregationistMississippi Senator Theodore Bilbo: [17]

    I shall never fight in the armed forces with a Negro by my side ... Rather I should die a thousand times, and see Old Glory trampled in the dirt never to rise again, than to see this beloved land of ours become degraded by race mongrels, a throwback to the blackest specimen from the wilds.
    — Robert C. Byrd, in a letter to Sen. Theodore Bilbo (D-MS), 1944, [10] [18]

    In 1946 or 1947 Byrd wrote a letter to a Grand Wizard stating, "The Klan is needed today as never before, and I am anxious to see its rebirth here in West Virginia and in every state in the nation.". [19] However, when running for the United States House of Representatives in 1952, he announced "After about a year, I became disinterested, quit paying my dues, and dropped my membership in the organization. During the nine years that have followed, I have never been interested in the Klan." He said he had joined the Klan because he felt it offered excitement and was anti-communist. [10]

    In 1997, Byrd told an interviewer he would encourage young people to become involved in politics but also: "Be sure you avoid the Ku Klux Klan. Don't get that albatross around your neck. Once you've made that mistake, you inhibit your operations in the political arena." [20] In his last autobiography, Byrd explained that he was a KKK member because he "was sorely afflicted with tunnel vision — a jejune and immature outlook — seeing only what I wanted to see because I thought the Klan could provide an outlet for my talents and ambitions." [21] Byrd also said, in 2005,

    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.
    — Robert C. Byrd, [10]

    At Byrd's memorial service, former President Bill Clinton excused Byrd's early association with the KKK:

    "I'll tell you what it means. He was a country boy from the hills and hollers of West Virginia, he was trying to get elected. And maybe he did something he shouldn't have done, and he spent the rest of his life making it up. And that's what a good person does." [22]

    Think About It

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