President Obama used the "reaction and overreaction" to the "bogus controversy" around Shirley Sherrod as an example that the nation’s "still got work to do when it comes to promoting the values, the fairness and equality."
Speaking before the National Urban League 100th Anniversary Convention in Washington, D.C today Mr. Obama said that former USDA staffer Shirley Sherrod “deserves better” than what happened last week and blamed both the media and his administration.
“She deserves better than what happened last week when a bogus controversy based on selective and deceiving excerpts of a speech led her — led to her forced resignation. Many are to blame, for the reaction and overreaction that followed these comments, including my own administration. “
The president recalled the phone conversation the two had last Thursday and said the full story about overcoming biases is one that needs to be told in America.
“It’s exactly what we need to hear, because we've all got our biases. And rather than jump to conclusions and point fingers and play some of the games that are played on cable TV, we should all look inward and try to examine what's in our own hearts.”
In the wake of the controversy last week – which the administration dubbed a “teachable moment” many have called on the president to lead a national conversation on race.
Today, the president said that a truthful, mature and responsible discussion needs to take place about the discrimination and prejudices that still exist in our society. But he said that is a conversation to be led around kitchen tables across America, and not necessarily from a presidential podium.
“A a discussion that needs to take place not on cable TV, not just through a bunch of academic symposia or fancy commissions or panels — not through political posturing — but around kitchen tables and water coolers and church basements and in our schools and with our kids, all across the country.”
-Sunlen Miller and Yunji de Nies