As the day wore on and the truth was revealed, my heart sank. The videotape that caused a firestorm had been selectively edited. Sherrod was relating a story of redemption from 1986 when she worked for a non-profit in Georgia. Sure, she didn’t want to help the white man before her too much because he displayed what she called a superior attitude towards her. But Sherrod went on to talk about how she spent the next two years trying to help the man save his farm. Sherrod said she learned from that experience. That it wasn’t so much about black and white as it was about helping the poor.
But before all the facts were in, Sherrod lost her job. She told CNN that an undersecretary at agriculture told her that the White House wanted her out. The White House denies this. Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said the decision was his. Meanwhile, the wife of the now-deceased farmer told CNN that Sherrod saved their family farm.
This is a travesty on so many levels. Yet my focus on is on how all this exposes why race and conversations on race almost never go well.
What a pathetic, heartbreaking, unfair, absurd story. The White House needs to step in and make this right, ASAP.
P.S. Oh, and hopefully there’s an especially hot place in hell for Andrew Breitbard.
UPDATE: The NAACP weighs in:
With regard to the initial media coverage of the resignation of USDA Official Shirley Sherrod, we have come to the conclusion we were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party Activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias…Having reviewed the full tape, spoken to Ms. Sherrod, and most importantly heard the testimony of the white farmers mentioned in this story, we now believe the organization that edited the documents did so with the intention of deceiving millions of Americans.
UPDATE #2: Newsweek has an interesting take, and let’s just say the White House doesn’t come off well on this one. At all.