…i’m sorry…

In Uncategorized on July 22, 2010 at 2:59 pm

This week has been dedicated to reflection on my older blogs–I can’t remember exactly which blog, but I recall posting that one of the hardest things to do is to admit when we are wrong. Saying “I’m sorry”–those small words can have a significant impact on things to come. Now one would have to question the sincerity of the apology, yet, when sincere, “I’m sorry” is a step toward healing.

Shirley Sherrod, former USDA Director of Rural Development in Georgia, is perhaps one of the most “googled” names since being forced to resign her post for alleged racist comments at an NAACP function earlier this year. What seems to have happened is a premature pulling of the proverbial trigger regarding the comments Ms. Sherrod made. Sherrod was telling a story about “the first time I was faced with having to help a white farmer save his farm… He had to come to me for help. What he didn’t know while he was taking all that time trying to show me he was superior to me was I was trying to decide just how much help I was going to give him. I was struggling with the fact that so many black people have 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. I did enough.” These comments were apparently a few lines of a larger explanation, a story that Sherrod was sharing with her audience.

However, after recent squabbles between the NAACP and some members of the Tea Party concerning issues of race, this story quickly ignited and took on a new life before anyone fact checked. And now, much like last summer’s Beer Summit, we are again having a summit regarding race in America. There is a fear that, no matter the race, that someone would be subjected to unfair conditions and treatment. And sometimes “I’m sorry” is not what we need, but “let’s discuss” the origins of our beliefs and why we believe certain things (and why are we so quickly to assume the worst–where is there fear?).

And now the larger story has come out–Sherrod has received apologies from President Obama and the Secretary of Agriculture…and I’m sorry doesn’t seem quite enough, but it’s a start to understanding the knee-jerk reactions to an otherwise compelling story.


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