“I knew it was racism and no one had to tell me that” said Shirley Sherrod, the recently fired director of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s rural development office in Georgia, as she answered questions July 29 at a panel discussion entitled “Context and Consequences: Conversation with Shirley Sherrod” during the National Association of Black Journalists’ annual convention.
Sherrod was fired from her position after an excerpt from a speech she made in March to a NAACP chapter was criticized as racist by blogger Andrew Breitbart and cable news network Fox News.
In a video posted on CNN.com Sherrod announced that she intended to sue Breitbart and said while the blogger has not apologized, she also does not want an apology from him. “He had to know that he was targeting me, not whether he was also trying to target the NAACP, he had to know that he was targeting me” she stated.
After the media frenzy about racism that ensued after the release of the video excerpt, Sherrod stated that she now knows “how the media can and should work in helping to get the truth out.”
When asked if she would accept a new position with the USDA, Sherrod said that she had not and was far from being able to do that. “I haven’t had a chance to read it” she said, “The offer still says draft. I need to ask them what does that mean. I have many other questions and from what I know about that part of the department, the Office of Advocacy and Outreach, I don’t think they have even budgeted the money to operate that part of the program. So I have many, many questions before I can make a decision.”