Shirley Sherrod Turns Down Job at Agriculture Department
This post first appeared on Shakesville. Shirley Sherrod has turned down a job offer from the Agriculture Department, after being forced to resign in July on the basis of Andrew Breitbart's doctored video.
[Sherrod] declined an offer Tuesday to serve as the agency's deputy director of the Office of Advocacy and Outreach. The newly created position was designed to improve the department's civil rights efforts and image nationwide. Sherrod said she also turned down an offer to return to her previous position as the department's director of rural development for Georgia. Sherrod met Tuesday morning with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack to discuss the offers. It was the first face-to-face meeting between the two since a controversial sequence of events last month culminated in Sherrod's stepping down. ...Sherrod said Vilsack pushed "really, really hard" for her to stay at the USDA during their roughly 90-minute meeting, but that she just didn't "think at this point with all that has happened" that it would be possible to continue working there. She needed to "take a break" from the furor surrounding her dismissal, she said. But "it doesn't mean I'm not interested in that work, because I am," Sherrod told reporters at the Agriculture Department. Sherrod said she enjoyed her work at the USDA and "would want to see (it) continue." "We need to work on issues (of) discrimination and racism in this country, and I'd certainly like to play my role," Sherrod said. She praised "new processes in place" to prevent discrimination and inappropriate firings at the department, but said she doesn't "want to be the one to test it."To be perfectly frank, I find it the height of patronizing bullshit that Sherrod was asked to be the director of the newly-created Office of Advocacy and Outreach. "Sorry we shit all over you; we don't know how to be reasonable or sensitive, but we sure want to look like we do to the public. So, um, can you do the very difficult task of building and leading a new department for us, so that we don't do the same shitty thing to someone else that we did to you? We totes swear that this isn't just a public relations stunt, and you won't be abandoned to bureaucratic hell, tasked with an objective we won't fund, as soon as the cameras look the other way. WE SWEARS IT!" Typical. As much as I want people just like Shirley Sherrod working for my government, I'm glad she didn't take the job, just on the principle of the thing. It isn't the obligation of people this (or any other) administration unfairly slights to fix the mess by letting themselves be used in a cynical public ploy. I hope the Department nonetheless creates its Office of Advocacy and Outreach, and hires someone great to lead it, even and especially if the administration stands to gain nothing from hir employment.