Charges that former Department of Agriculture Director Shirley Sherrod made racist comments about a white farmer in an NAACP speech may have proven overblown and out of context, but another controversy is brewing over another recently uncovered section of video footage. Sherrod herself is pointing the racism figure.
On the July 22 episode of “The View,” co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck confronted Sherrod over statements the government employee made about partisan politics and race.
Although earlier in the speech in question, Sherrod had told an inspiring story about overcoming her previously held racial prejudices (the remarks that cause the original uproar), by its end she asserted that, “I haven't seen such mean spirited people as I've seen lately over this issue of health care. Now we endured eight years of the Bushes, and we didn't do the stuff these Republicans were doing, because you have a black president.”
According to Hasselbeck, some critics have pointed to the end of the speech as proof that Sherrod had not completely surmounted her issues with race.
“So when some people hear that, they're now thinking 'what about that epiphany?'” said Hasselbeck. “Where's that epiphany, where it's not about color and it's not about race? What do you then say?”
Sherrod skirted the question, responding, “You know, why is it that there's such opposition to something that's so important to poor people? Again, I'm coming at it from the angle of poor people. Poor people need health care.”
Hasselbeck tried to ask the question again. “[B]ut in that quote, it was made about – and I hear you because I listened to the entire speech, and I read the entire transcript and I do think that's your message – but when someone listens to that, they're thinking now all of a sudden why is it back to black and white? Why do we have to get there?” she said.
But Sherrod brought the focus back to health care once again. “Poor white people need health care too,” she said. “So I wasn't talking about health care for just black people. I'm talking about health care for poor people. I know what happens to folks that don't get a chance to go to doctors.”
Later in the episode, “The View” co-host Behar also took a shot at the Bush administration.
“During the Bush administration you had tax cuts for the wealthiest. And that whole administration didn't give a damn about poor people and everybody knows it,” said Behar. “That's why Obama was elected in the first place. I mean even now the Republicans are blocking an extension of unemployment insurance and yet they're okay with tax cuts for the wealthy. So now you have Obama in office, and he does give a damn about black people.”
Hasselbeck again brought up the issue of race, asking “Is it black/white or is it rich/poor? Which is it?”
Behar responded that, “[A] lot of people in this country have been poor because they were black.”
“I understand that too, but say it,” said Hasselbeck. “Then it is about race, I mean we're supposed to be post-racial here, but we're really not.”
The other co-host, Whoopi Goldberg chimed in, saying that “there is no post racial, yet,” and adding that the whole concept was a “media idea.”