The Daily Show: Lost in Race

Staff Writer
Columbus Alive

Let's talk about Shirley Sherrod, the former USDA official who leapt into the headlines recently over a racially charged sound bite from a speech she gave to the NAACP.

"The first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm," Sherrod said, "I didn't give him the full force of what I could do."

Within hours of the tape surfacing, the NAACP and the Obama administration condemned Sherrod's comments and Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack fired her.

Then they watched the rest of the tape, where she said: "I've come to realize that we have to work together. We have to get to the point where race exists, but it doesn't matter."

Oh, so she wasn't inexplicably bragging about being a racist. She was explaining the lessons she learned about not letting racism influence your decisions. It's amazing what happens when you stay until the end of something.

But that doesn't explain why Sherrod mistrusted white farmers in the first place. That would require you go to the beginning of the speech, where you'd find out her father was murdered by a white farmer and an all-white grand jury refused to indict anyone.

Look, I may be old-fashioned, but I'd like to think that we still live in a world where you're allowed to hate the thing that kills your father.

Sherrod was accused of racism, tossed into a river and she sank - thereby proving her innocence. Let the backtracking begin.

"It should have been done in a much more personal way. It should have been done with far more thought, and it should have been done in far less haste," Vilsack said.

No, it shouldn't have been done! We're not angry about how you fired her - we're angry that you fired her.

What's your excuse, NAACP?

"We were snookered by Fox News and Tea Party activist Andrew Breitbart into believing she had harmed white farmers because of racial bias," said a statement from NAACP President Benjamin Jealous.

You were snookered?! What are you, an old lady in a Groucho Marx movie who got her pearls swiped on an ocean liner?

First of all, Fox News is too busy with their Black Panther hard-on to bother much with this, and Breitbart, the guy who leaked the edited tape, may be the most honest person in this story. Listen to what he said five months ago.

"I want it to be in the history books [that] I took down the institutional left," Breitbart said.

He didn't say, "I want to be in the history books as a paragon of honesty." He didn't say, "I'd like to be known by children around the world as Arnold B. Truthington of Accuracy Lane."

No, he said, "I want to bring down the institutional left." So, if you're on the institutional left and you receive a package from him, watch the whole damn tape!

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