An African-American woman from
lost her federal job Monday over what at first appeared to be racist
comments in a video clip. But on Tuesday she said the comments were
misconstrued — she was really talking about racial reconciliation years
ago when she worked for a nonprofit agency.
As a result, the
According to the
The whirlwind developments were the latest in a turbulent week that began
Tea party leaders quickly responded that the
movement was not racist, although some acknowledged racist elements
might be found on the fringe.
Four days later, the
The debate shifted gears on Monday, when the video clip surfaced of Sherrod.
Conservative Web site publisher
biggovernment.com, calling it “evidence of racism coming from a federal
The site gained fame last year after releasing video
of workers for the community organizing group ACORN counseling actors
posing as a pimp and prostitute.
The Sherrod video spread like wildfire on television, talk radio and the Internet.
The video shows Sherrod giving a speech at an
She tells about “the first time I was faced with having to help a white
farmer save his farm.” She said the farmer “took a long time talking,
but he was trying to show me he was superior to me.”
“I know what he was doing,” she said, “but he had to
come to me for help. What he didn’t know, while he was taking all that
time trying to show me he was superior to me, I was trying to decide
just how much help I was going to give him. 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.”
Sherrod said she took him to a white lawyer with training in farm bankruptcy.
“So I figured if I take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him,” she said.
The clip ends as Sherrod begins talking about how she came to realize that the issue actually was about class, not race.
“There is zero tolerance for discrimination at
and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person,”
Vilsack said. “We have 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.”
The farmowners Sherrod had allegedly discriminated against told CNN and the
“Racism is about the abuse of power,” Jealous said. “Sherrod had it in her position at
Jealous said Breitbart deceived millions of people
by releasing only partial clips. He said the full video makes clear
that Sherrod was telling a story of racial unity.
Breitbart said in a CNN interview the video was not about Sherrod.
“This was about the
Some tea party activists told
“We need to see what happens,” said
“This is a very sensitive time. If we’re going to
speak about these things, we need to do so in an open, good-faith,
full, frank and honest way.”
Botteri said the racism debate had distracted the country from other important issues.
“It’s unfortunate,” she said.
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