Gregory Kane: NAACP neglects to speak up for whites, too 

Boy, did Shirley Sherrod get reamed. Those who did the reaming admitted as much. And one of them was not, I repeat, not, Andrew Breitbart.

Sherrod was the U.S. Department of Agriculture official who worked in Georgia before Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack gave her the boot. In 1986, Sherrod was director of the Georgia State Office for the Federation of Southern Cooperatives/Land Assistance Fund.

In that capacity she found herself in the position of helping a white farmer. For Sherrod, a black woman, this presented a conflict.

In a story she recounted at an NAACP fundraising dinner in Douglas, Ga., in March, Sherrod admitted that she didn't help the man as much as she should have, because of his race. The speech was videotaped; someone got a copy of that video to Breitbart.

In an interview on "CBS Unplugged" last week, Breitbart made it clear that his target was the NAACP, with its sanctimonious resolution condemning racism in the Tea Party movement. But Sherrod got the fallout.

Vilsack fired her, saying there was no room in the USDA for racism. President Obama supported Vilsack's decision. Only after responsible news outlets checked the facts and got the full story did Obama and Vilsack learn that Sherrod did help the farmer and that his wife said Sherrod has become a "close friend for life."

Obama and Vilsack, the egg smeared all over their faces, were forced to apologize to Sherrod. Vilsack has, according to some news reports, offered Sherrod a "unique position" in the USDA.

But it's Breitbart, not Obama and Sherrod, who has been the target of negative reaction. Breitbart said it best on "Unplugged": He didn't throw Sherrod under the bus and back it up; Obama and Vilsack did.

When he appeared on "Unplugged," a clearly exasperated Breitbart repeated that it was the NAACP, not Sherrod, who was the target of his dudgeon. That NAACP resolution about racism in the Tea Party movement infuriated him.

If Breitbart were going to target the NAACP, there was a way to do that without dragging Sherrod into it. Breitbart should have concentrated on the NAACP only.

Yes, a video of NAACP members chuckling as Sherrod told her tale of mistreating a white farmer is revealing, but Breitbart would have done better by focusing on what the NAACP and its members haven't done or said on other issues.

And the most outrageous of all is the one that happened in the very city where the NAACP has its national headquarters: Baltimore.

In 2006, a white couple from Carroll County, Md., drove to a part of Baltimore many black residents steer clear of. Both were shot dead; police investigation led one lieutenant to interview a suspect named Davon David Temple.

The police officer, according to his report, said that Temple gave his consent to search his cell phone for the numbers of known gang members. During that search, the lieutenant came across a text message in the cell phone's out box that read: "I killed 2 white people around my way 2day & 1 of them was a woman."

It looked like police had their murderer; but the state's attorney's office dropped murder charges against Temple, claiming the search of his cell phone was illegal.

So a black man suspected of murdering two white people walks the streets. There was compelling evidence of his guilt, and a hint that he committed his act because of the race of his victims. And how has the NAACP responded?

By uttering not one word. Now how's that for racism?

Examiner Columnist Gregory Kane is a Pulitzer-nominated news and opinion journalist who has covered people and politics from Baltimore to the Sudan.

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Gregory Kane

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Examiner columnist Gregory Kane is an award-winning journalist who lives in Baltimore.

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