Tags: video | naacp | white | farmer | refused | help | fox

NAACP Video: USDA Official Refused to Help Whites

Monday, 19 Jul 2010 09:48 PM

A video showing an African-American official with the U.S. Department of Agriculture telling an NAACP convention how she refused to help a white farmer facing bankruptcy resulted in her resignation Monday night after FoxNews.com posted a story on the film.

The video, apparently shot at an NAACP convention sometime in March, comes on the heels of an NAACP resolution last week condemning the tea party movement for being racist.

The video – displayed by Fox News on its website Monday night – shows a woman identified as Shirley Sherrod, the department's Georgia director of Rural Development, saying she put the “superior” acting white farmer in his place.

"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 was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him," she said. "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have 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."

The Agriculture Department announced Monday that Sherrod had resigned.

Story continues below.

"There is zero tolerance for discrimination at USDA, and I strongly condemn any act of discrimination against any person," Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack said in a written statement. "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.

Sherrod explained in the video that, at the time, she assumed the state or national Department of Agriculture had referred the white farmer to her. In order to ensure that the farmer could report back that she was indeed helpful, she said she took him to see "one of his own" -- a white lawyer.

"I figured that if I take him to one of them, that his own kind would take care of him," she said.

The point of the story wasn't entirely clear; only an excerpt of the speech is included in the video clip.

"It was revealed to me that it's about poor versus those who have," she said, suggesting she had learned that race is less important.

The video clip was first posted by BigGovernment.com. The clip is dated March 27 from an NAACP Freedom Fund banquet.

Fox described a second clip from the same event in which Sherrod appeared to urge black job seekers to find work at the Department of Agriculture because the federal government won't lay people off.

"There are jobs at USDA and many times there are no people of color to fill those jobs because we shy away from agriculture. We hear the word agriculture and think, why are we working in the fields?" she said. "You've heard of a lot of layoffs. Have you heard of anybody in the federal government losing their job? That's all I need to say."

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