We're pushing forward on the story of Shirley Sherrod. Now, she's telling us that we don't have the whole story. Sherrod used to be the USDA Rural Development Director for Georgia until a YouTube clip of her went viral. It's from an NAACP dinner in March.
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.
Well, here is part of the statement from Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack, "There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person." And this is from Ben Jealous of the NAACP, "Racism is about the abuse of power. Sherrod had it in her position at USDA. We are appalled by her actions, just as we are with abuses of power against farmers of color and female farmers."
But Sherrod says "hold on, there's no context with that clip" and that "it doesn't tell the entire story". She actually called CNN's American Morning this morning to give her side of the story. She talked with our John Roberts. And he joins us from New York, CNN political analyst Roland Martin, he's in Chicago. Of course he's going to weigh in on this as well. John, let's go ahead and listen to some of your interview with Shirley Sherrod from earlier and then let's talk.
"I was speaking to that group like I've done many groups, and I tell them about a time when I thought the issue was race and race only. And I tell them the story of how I have worked with a white farmer back in 1986. I was not working for the Department of Agriculture. I was working with a non-profit organization assisting farmers throughout South Georgia and the southeast. And this farmer came to me for help. I was telling the story about how working with him helped me to see that the issue is not about race. It's about those who have versus those who do not have."
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