Black Employee Gets Unfairly Clipped


The Story

This week, the White House forced the resignation of Shirley Sherrod, a Department of Agriculture employee.  Her termination was based on a 39-second video clip of her at a NAACP meeting.  The White House believed her comments were racist.  Later, the entire presentation was released, which showed -- rather than her discrimination -- how she learned from an interaction with a white farmer way back in 1986.  The White House apologized and offered Sherrod her job back.

Shirley Sherrod

Watch the full video here.  Read more here.

Discussion Starters

  • What does this incident tell us about race relations in the U.S.? 
  • Why would someone take Sherrod's comments out of context and publicize just a small segment of her speech?  Read the original post here.
  • How does this situation relate to race relations in business?

Assignment Ideas

  • Think about a time when you may have unfairly prejudged someone because of his or her race.  Talk with 2 or 3 other students about the situation and what you learned from the experience.
  • Review a presentation you gave recently. Identify a small part that -- if taken out of context -- would have distorted your message.  How could you have reinforced your main message more often throughout the presentation?  Consider what you could have said and what you could have written on visuals to support your key points and possibly avoid this situation.