White House Apologizes to Shirley Sherrod, Ag Secretary Offers Her New Job

Sherrod told "Good Morning America's" George Stephanopoulos today that her comments were taken out of context and that she was using the story as an illustration of how she grew and learned to move beyond race.

"I used my life where I grew up in a segregated society to show how I could move beyond that," said Sherrod.

Sherrod, who worked at the USDA as the director of rural development for Georgia, said earlier today she's not sure if she will want to return to her former workplace.

"I don't know how I will be treated. I'm just not sure," she said on "GMA." "I'd have to be reassured on that."

Breitbart, the conservative guru who posted the video with the headline, "Video Proof: The NAACP Awards Racism -- 2010," said it was not meant to be an attack on Sherrod but rather a lesson to the NAACP that they use accusations of racism to stifle dissent.

"What this video clearly shows is a standard that Tea Party has not been held to, is that the NAACP shows people in the audience there applauding her when she discriminates against a white farmer. That was the point I was trying to make," Breitbart said on "GMA" today. "This was not about Shirley Sherrod. This was about the smears that have gone on against the Tea Party."

The NAACP and the Tea Party have been embroiled in a heated battle since last week, when the nation's largest civil rights group passed a resolution condemning what it called racist elements in the conservative movement, and urged its leaders to denounce racism.

Many Tea Party leaders such as Breitbart deny there are racial overtones in the movement, arguing that charges of racist remarks have never been proven.

Shirley Sherrod in National Spotlight Over Debate on Race

The video clip posted on Breitbart's conservative blog featured a clip of Sherrod speaking at a March NAACP awards ceremony describing "the first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm."

Sherrod described the farmer as "trying to show me he was superior to me... What he didn't know was while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me, was I was trying to decide how much help I was going to give him."

Sherrod continued, saying, "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 video was cited as proof of Sherrod's racism -- since it seems to show a government employee saying she discriminated on the basis of race -- was seized by cable news outlets and on the internet.

Left out of the story's race throughout the media world, at least in its initial few laps, were the facts that the incident in question took place in 1986 when Sherrod worked for a non-profit, the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.

Sherrod's larger argument was that her involvement with the white farmers in question -- Roger and Eloise Spooner from Iron City, Ga. -- made her realize a larger lesson.

As she said in a different part of the video splice, "it was revealed to me that it's about the poor versus those who have."

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