“The NAACP has a zero tolerance policy against racial discrimination, whether practiced by blacks, whites, or any other group.
The NAACP also has long championed and embraced transformation by people who have moved beyond racial bias. Most notably, we have done so for late Alabama Governor George Wallace and late US Senator Robert Byrd — each a man who had associated with and supported white supremacists and their cause before embracing civil rights for all.
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.
The fact is Ms. Sherrod did help the white farmers mentioned in her speech. They personally credit her with helping to save their family farm.***
Next time we are confronted by a racial controversy broken by Fox News or their allies in the Tea Party like Mr. Breitbart, we will consider the source and be more deliberate in responding. The tape of Ms. Sherrod’s speech at an NAACP banquet was deliberately edited to create a false impression of racial bias, and to create a controversy where none existed. This just shows the lengths to which extremist elements will go to discredit legitimate opposition.
I’m not sure what exactly it will take before everyone realizes what they are dealing with every time these guys release a tape. Will the media learn a lesson as the NAACP did? Or, more likely, are we just a few days away from Clark Hoyt and Andrew Alexander apologizing to the wingnuts for not coming out against Sherrod in a more timely manner.
And for all of you who have given into fits of angst over my comments earlier saying no one in the administration or “the left” came to her defense, I include myself in that. I just meant that no one defended the poor woman, no one said “slow down, these guys did the same thing with ACORN.” Myself included.
*** Update ***
This sort of speaks for itself:
Meanwhile, the farmer referenced in the clip told CNN he credits Sherrod with helping his family save their farm.
“I don’t know what brought up the racist mess,” Roger Spooner told CNN’s “Rick’s List.” “They just want to stir up some trouble, it sounds to me in my opinion.”
Spooner says Sherrod accompanied him and his wife to a lawyer in Americus, Georgia, who was able to help them file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, which ultimately saved their farm.
“If it hadn’t been for her, we would’ve never known who to see or what to do,” he said. “She led us right to our success.”
Spooner’s wife, Eloise, remembered Sherrod as “nice-mannered, thoughtful, friendly; a good person.”
She said that when she saw the story of the tape and Sherrod’s resignation on television, “I said, ‘That ain’t right. They have not treated her right.’ “
The administration has an opportunity to do the right thing here, and they should.