Editorials

Slimy, knee-jerk acts

Protesters rallied outside the Department of Agriculture building in Washington on Wednesday in support of Shirley Sherrod, a former director of rural development in Georgia, demanding that Sherrod be reinstated.
Protesters rallied outside the Department of Agriculture building in Washington on Wednesday in support of Shirley Sherrod, a former director of rural development in Georgia, demanding that Sherrod be reinstated. AP

Can we talk about race?

No, it's too risky.

Just ask Shirley Sherrod, the federal agriculture official who was forced out as head of rural development in Georgia, after a right-wing blogger — devoid of ethics or conscience — circulated a snippet from her after-dinner speech to the NACCP in rural Coffee County, Ga., earlier this year.

What was portrayed on the blog twisted Sherrod's message into the exact opposite of what it was. Sherrod, who is black, was the victim of a "high-tech lynching," to borrow Justice Clarence Thomas' phrase.

But that's not the outrageous part. We've come to expect such slimy shenanigans from certain quarters.

The outrageous part is that the Obama administration and even the NAACP immediately knuckled under to the political con artists who are trying to stir up anger among white voters by portraying the administration as anti-white.

The NAACP denounced Sherrod and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack demanded her resignation.

After learning the facts, the White House, NAACP and Vilsack apologized to Sherrod whose speech conveyed the complexities of racial progress in the South.

The most sensible response came from the white couple she supposedly discriminated against, but who say her efforts saved their farm. "She'll always be my friend," said Eloise Spooner of Iron City, Ga.

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