I had a weird feeling that something wasn’t quite right with the left suddenly lining up to dump Shirley Sherrod over the side so soon after the Big Government post went live and got traction.
I went digging and saw a few others had linked to this page at Rural Development.org and as I was scrolling, this jumped out;
The cash award acknowledges racial discrimination on the part of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for the years 1981-85. (President Reagan abolished the USDA Office of Civil Rights when he became President in 1981.) New Communities is due to receive approximately $13 million ($8,247,560 for loss of land and $4,241,602 for loss of income; plus $150,000 each to Shirley and Charles for pain and suffering). There may also be an unspecified amount in forgiveness of debt. This is the largest award so far in the minority farmers law suit (Pigford vs Vilsack).
Cash award? Wait, what? Looking up “Pigford v Vilsack“, it was all legalese to me, so I waited for somebody to connect the dots.
As part of a April 14, 1999 class action case settlement, commonly known as the Pigford case, U.S. taxpayers have already provided over $1 billion in cash, non-credit awards and debt relief to almost 16,000 black farmers who claimed that they were discriminated against by USDA officials as they “farmed or attempted to farm.” In addition, USDA’s Farm Service Agency spent over $166 million on salaries and expenses on this case from 1999-2009, according to agency records.
Members of Congress may approve another $1.15 billion this week to settle cases from what some estimate may be an additional 80,000 African-Americans who have also claimed to have been discriminated against by USDA staff.
… Settling this case is clearly a priority for the White House and USDA. Secretary Vilsack described the funding agreement reached between the Administration and advocates for black farmers early this year as “an important milestone in putting these discriminatory claims behind us for good and in achieving finality for this group of farmers with longstanding grievances.”
However, confronted with the skyrocketing federal deficit, more officials are taking a critical look at the billion dollars spent thus far and wondering when these discrimination cases will ever end. Already, the number of people who have been paid and are still seeking payment will likely exceed the 26,785 black farmers who were considered to even be operating back in 1997, according to USDA. That’s the year the case initially began as Pigford v. (then Agriculture Secretary) Glickman and sources predicted that, at most, 3,000 might qualify.
So, 26,785 black farmers farming at the time, and of course the number of people lining up for a payday is going to eventually outnumber those.
Tip of the iceberg, I bet. Sherrod and her husband Charles are praised for getting such a huge reward, but ditched in a hurry when the spotlight starts to shine her way.
I actually felt kind of sorry for Shirley when I heard after she’s already been tossed overboard that she was actually making the point in the infamous video clip that she had learned a lesson about racism in herself that she was trying to convey to the people watching her speak;
She is telling the tale of a white farmer she was unenthusiastic about helping. She wanted to pawn him off on “his own kind.” Just before the YouTube video cuts off, you get the preview of where her story is headed. She’s about to tell the receptive audience that sometimes it’s not about race, it’s about how white people hate poor people, even when those poor people are white. Right?
Only there is much more to it than that. As subsequent reporting has revealed, Sherrod ended up working tirelessly for that white family. They became “friends for life” according to the family. The point of Sherrod’s story was that you have to move beyond race. That was her point.
I learned something about prejudice in myself as well. I believed since Sherrod was an Obama appointee, she was a total leftist hack deserving of whatever evil should befall her.
Then, after finding out she had become a better person for having befriended the white farmer couple, I thought; “Awww, see how wrong I was? Bad NAACP and USDA for tossing her so fast!
Now I’m find myself back to; “Leftist hack! Serves her right!”
[UPDATE] Dana Loesch reminds me of one other thing, the applause of the crown listening to Sherrod speak. That really bothered me more than what Shirley Sherrod actually said;
Breitbart,who also appeared on CNN, said the point of the video was not to show racism by Sherrod but by the people in the audience listening to her and approving discriminatory sentiments expressed by Sherrod before she said that they were wrong.
“When Shirley Sherrod is talking there, in which she expresses a discriminatory attitude towards white people, the audience responds with applause,” Breitbart said. “But what you see on the video are people in the audience at an organization whose sole job is to fight against discrimination and they’re applauding her overt racism that she is representing.”
“Hmm” indeed. I’ll add “Raaaaacist™ NAACP!” to my above personal conflict.