I was very upset over the treatment of Sherrod when it occurred and I am disappointed that this has not been resolved as of today. Ta-Nehisi Coates sums up just how disrespectful the situation is here:
I think, given how the Civil Rights movement is viewed, and given that love and forgiveness were its hallmarks, it’s really, really, really easy to paper over the real anger stewing among a great many black folks of that generation. I don’t mean bitterness. I don’t mean unjustified pique. I mean natural human anger at injustice both personal and collective.
I mean growing up under a systemic and literal white supremacy, whose endorsement by virtually every sector of society government, private enterprise, church etc. was near total. I mean having your father murdered by white racists, and watching the killer going unpunished. I mean watching the Klan harass your now widowed mother. I mean growing up with all of that, learning to forgive, and doing the painful work of not becoming a racist yourself.
I mean taking that message of forgiveness and humanism so much to heart, that you come be known for your fundamental fairness. I mean preaching that gospel of love, introspection and broad toleration, to other wounded black people. I mean being fired for preaching that gospel by the agents of the first black president of the United States who, were it not for your individual efforts, and the efforts of your compatriots would enjoy no such power.
Sherrod’s firing didn’t have much to do with policy. Still I don’t think the Obama administration was ever more wrong, more weak, and more ungracious, then when it ordered Shirley Sherrod off the highway to tender her resignation by blackberry. The symbolism of that moment, a year later, is stunning.
Since then, the USDA has offered Sherrod a position within the organization as a consultant in dealing with discrimination against black farmers, with a salary of $35,000 a year. Naturally she took such an offer as a slap in the face. I make more than $35,000 and I don’t have even close the amount of work experience she has, much less the what is owed to her symbolically.
I have a feeling that Obama did not have a direct hand in this. However, I think this deserves his attention given how his employees have seriously screwed this particular incident up. He should have consulted with the USDA in their handling of Sherrod. He should know about every interaction with Sherrod, including (especially) the details of her rehiring.
What do you think? Should President Obama, be directly responsible for racial injustices that happen in his administration?