Was It Fair to Fire Dept. of Agriculture Official Shirley Sherrod?

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ByABC News
July 21, 2010, 8:37 AM

July 21, 2010— -- In a case that mixes the potent topics of race and politics, some are questioning whether the Department of Agriculture made the right decision when it fired a Georgia official, Shirley Sherrod, after a video surfaced of her talking about seemingly-racist actions 24 years ago.

In the NAACP video, posted on a conservative website, Sherrod, an African American, said, "I was struggling with the fact that so many black people had 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."

Almost immediately, Sherrod was forced to resign by the Obama administration, and Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack issued a statement declaring that "there is zero tolerance for discrimination" at the agency.

In the video, though, Sherrod was talking about actions she made 24 years ago when she worked for a non-profit, and she was using the anecdote to make a larger point that race doesn't matter, that she changed her views shortly thereafter.

"They turned [that] into a saying I'm a racist," said Sherrod, whose father was killed by the KKK. "You better believe I'm not."

Vilsack said today that he would reconsider the decision, but Sherrod said she's not sure she wants the job back.

"I am just not sure how I would be treated there," she said on Good Morning America.

Our question to you today: Was it fair to fire Shirley Sherrod?

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