Shirley Sherrod, ousted for 'racist' video clip, may not take back job

Shirley Sherrod, who lost her Agricultural Department job after a clip of her admitting to giving unfair racial preference surfaced on a conservative web site, says she isn't sure she'd take back her job.

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Shirley Sherrod, lost her Agriculture Department job after a clip of her admitting to giving unfair racial preference surfaced on a conservative web site, Tuesday.

Shirley Sherrod might be offered back her job. But she’s not sure she she’d take it.

That is the latest development in a fast-moving controversy involving race, politics, the NAACP, and the Department of Agriculture.

Ms. Sherrod, an African-American, Tuesday was booted from her Agriculture Department job after a conservative web site posted a video clip in which she appeared to say she did not give a white farmer as much help as she could have 24 years ago, when she was a state worker in Georgia.

The clip came from a speech Sherrod gave at an NAACP conference. Andrew Breitbart, the owner of the conservative web site, said he publicized the clip in an attempt to show that the NAACP is hypocritical when it complains about racist elements within the Tea Party movement.

But reporters investigating the case quickly discovered that the clip was taken out of context. In the full speech, Sherrod was describing an impulse which she overcame to help the white farmer save his land. Her point was the need for racial reconciliation.

Under pressure from the White House, Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack early Wednesday said he would reconsider the case. But Sherrod, interviewed on NBC’s Today Show, said she was not sure she would take it, because, given all that has occurred, she is not sure how she would be treated.

“I just don’t know at this point,” she said.

Mr. Breitbart, interviewed on Fox News, said Wednesday morning that he had never called for Sherrod to lose her job, and that it was the Obama administration that had “thrown her under the bus.”

Breitbart avoided a direct answer to the question of whether the clip had been unfairly edited. He said that the NAACP audience had laughed and applauded as Sherred described her initial maltreatment of the white farmer. That was his main point, Breitbart said.

“I’m invested in getting the NAACP and the Democratic Party and the Congressional Black Caucus to stop constantly calling the Tea Party racist. That’s my job,” Breitbart told Fox’s Sean Hannity.


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