I saw various headlines yesterday and today discussing United States Department of Agriculture Georgia official who has gotten into some hot water over some racial comments. I wasn't quite interested in the news story but then I noticed the mention of Andrew Breitbart and I was intrigued. The first article I loaded up was from The Atlanta Journal Constitution, written by Marcus K. Garner and Christian Boone.
Apparently, from what I gather, a USDA Georiga official, Shirley Sherrod, had given a speech for the NAACP where she had recalled an event over twenty years ago where she made the decision to not help some farmers based on their race. If you were Andrew Breitbart or Fox News, the story ended there, but as the AJC article points out, Andrew Breitbart's website misrepresented the speech, cutting it up to only depict her negative statements.
What did Breitbart & Co. leave out?
The part where Sherrod explains the lesson she learned from her youthful indiscretions.
In the video, Sherrod told the crowd at the NAACP banquet in Douglas, Ga., that she didn't do everything she could to help a white farmer whom she said was condescending when he came to her for aid.Now I would like to ask: "Who is race-baiting here - Andrew Breitbart or The NAACP?"
"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," Sherrod said on the video, recorded "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had lost their farmland, 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."
Sherrod, in her first interview after the clip surfaced, told The Atlanta Journal Constitution the video was selectively edited.
While she soon admitted as she told her story that she referred the Spooners to a white lawyer so "his own kind would help him," she followed that admission with a revelation that was omitted from the two-minute, 36-second excerpt of the speech posted by Breitbart's group.
Sherrod told the crowd that she discovered the white lawyer she had referred the Spooners to took their money for six months, but did nothing to help them.
"This lawyer told them, ‘ya'll are getting old ... why don't you just let go of the farm,'" she said. "I could not believe he said that to them."
Sherrod said she'd learned her lesson.
You can watch the full un-edited video here.
Oh yeah, it is also interesting to note that those white farmers Sherrod referenced in her speech are actually her friends and they seem to support her - not the Breitbart narrative, although the folks at Big Government claim it was never about Sherrod but about the reaction of the audience.
Update - After visiting conservative activist John Smithson's website, I had noticed that he too covered the Shirley Sherrod story, giving nine points as to what we have learned in the 24 hours since the story broke. What Smithson does is just continue on the now debunked smear propagated by Andrew Breitbart.
According to Smithson, the "video does record the racist attitude of Sherrod." He must have seen only the clip that Breitbart popularized, which omitted Sherrod explaining the lesson she had learned. He also pushes the claims that her comments were "well received by the NAACP audience in attendance." Maybe Smithson knows what it was like to be a black person in Georgia who had lost their father in a racially charged murder, but if you actually listen to the clip, the audience members were more or less understanding of the situation Sherrod was in then of the racial implications Breitbart blows out of proportion - the audience members also agree with the statements made by Sherrod claiming she learned that her issues were not with race, but with income disparity.
I had also thought it was interesting that Smithson dismissed the defense of Sherrod by the "white farmers" she helped.
Smithson's anger with the situation seems to stem from the NAACP's recent call for the tea party to repudiate racist elements within the organization - he believes that such request is racist in nature and that the racists within the conservative movement are anomalous. I find this belief to contradict Smithson's later assertions that these supposed racist attitudes of the black leadership in America don't represent the majority of blacks, unless of course they have become targeted by the right-wing movement.
Understand the racist attitudes of those blacks now in charge of the governance of our country (most blacks do not fall within this characterization) is well established in the airing of this video revealing an approving response of the NAACP and its President, Ben Jealous, not to mention racist bias of ACORN, the Congressional Black Caucus, Jeremiah Wright and Louis Farrahkan, Van Jones, Eric Holder, Maxine Waters and her approval of Castro and on and on.His statement makes no sense. According to Smithson, "most blacks do not" share these racist attitudes, but then Smithson rattles off an endless list of exceptions. I'm sure if you asked him about tea party leadership, Smithson would just dismiss such claims, despite some tea party leadership actually making racist comments. It appears to me that Smithson is just using race to further his political agenda - he is a self-described conservative activist, and calling the enemy racist while absolving his own side of all its sins would be on par with the actions of Smithson's more well known activist contemporaries.
I also thought it was funny that Smithson aimed to disspell the rumor that Sherrod's speech is decades old, despite her reference of President Obama. This rumor probably stems from the right-wings failure to understand that Sherrod was talking about an event that occurred years ago. Smithson probably fabricated this rumor based on a comment left by his one and only fan, imataxpayertoo, in which they made the following statement:
Hey John, I thought I saw somewhere that the speech was from March of this year...the STORY however is 24 years old (or some number like that). It happened a very long time ago. She was at an NAACP meeting and shared her experience and her "revelation" that made her see it wasn't about race.imataxpayertoo seems very credible - their website featured an article with the following headline: "Kagan A Supporter of Shariah Financial Law." Need I say more?