R&R Aware: When Appeasement Goes Wrong-Shirley Sherrod

I'm sure that by now everyone has heard or seen something about the unfortunate firing and subsequent wooing back of Shirley Sherrod, the USDA official from Georgia who was vilified over an out of context clip from a speech she delivered in March at an NAACP event. Ms. Sherrod suffered a double insult not only by being asked to step down from her post with the USDA, but also by being denounced by the very organization (NAACP) that should have defended her. They could have started by paying attention to what was going on at their own event. In the age of PhotoShop, video editing, and push button publishing, we should know better than to jump to any conclusions about anything we see, especially when it is apparent that vital information has been artfully shaved away to support a certain agenda. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=E9NcCa_KjXk&hl=en_US&fs=1&color1=0x402061&color2=0x9461ca]

A quick search on YouTube will give you the full speech given by Ms. Sherrod, which is almost 45 minutes long. She calls for unity across racial lines but first within them. I admire Ms. Sherrod not only for acknowledging her error and the ignorance of judging a person solely based on race, but for pointing out that the real dividing factor in our society is economic status. As the popular saying goes, money talks and especially now, that leaves more of us silent than with a voice regardless of race. I think that the actions of the NAACP disturb me more than any of the other details of this story because my expectation is that thorough fact checking and responsible investigation should be second nature for officials in such a historic,visible, and powerful organization. And because of the monolithic lenses through which black people are traditionally looked at in this country, this misstep by the organization which deems itself as our collective voice will undoubtedly be used by the media and others as further evidence of our supposed incompetence an incohesiveness as a people. The full video, by the way, is found on the NAACP's YouTube channel and the caption below it reads "The video of Shirley Sherrod released by Andrew Brietbart's Big Government Blog on July 19 didn't tell the full story. It was selectively edited to cast her in a negative light. Here is the video, shot by the local NAACP unit that hosted Ms. Sherrod. Watch the video, and judge for yourself."Too bad they couldn't give Ms. Sherrod the dignity of watching the full video before the country cast her as the latest black villain.