It’s been awhile since I “beat up on” a fellow black person or institution, as my detractors occasionally complain, so I thought I’d throw in my two cents on the leading black candidate for the 2004 presidential race and fellow New Yorker, Al Sharpton.
I don’t know if America is yet “ready” to elect a black person as president, but I believe the fact that blacks have entered the process in recent years as serious candidates is a development that speaks volumes with respect to how far our nation has progressed; when my parents, an interracial couple, married, there were still “Colored Only” signs in use in parts of America.
During the last presidential primary season, Alan Keyes was someone I honestly would have supported on his merits and credentials if I believed he had a chance. Notice that I mentioned merits and credentials. While Keyes was a former ambassador, Sharpton substitutes infamy for credentials. New Yorkers are well-familiar with the mail-order “Reverend” (his bios claim that he was “ordained” at age 10) who came on the scene in 1987 when a 15-year-old black girl named Tawana Brawley who’d gone missing was found days later smeared with dog feces and with racial slurs written on her body. After claiming that a gang of policemen had raped her and left her thus, Sharpton took up her cause in the name of highlighting police brutality against blacks (translation: Fomenting race hatred and distrust of the police).
Brawley’s claims turned out to be false; she’d cooked up the story to evade parental blame for her own questionable activities. More importantly, it was determined Sharpton knew this and concealed the fact in his quest to defame the police; Sharpton was in fact found guilty of defamation in a civil court and ordered to pay damages.
Taking a page from Jesse Jackson’s book, Sharpton quickly put the episode behind him, subsequently involving himself in every remotely race-related media incident in the Big Apple – always loud, accusatory and barely articulate. Sharpton was heavily criticized for his involvement in protests that followed the 1989 shooting death of a black youth who was attacked by a white mob, and he was actually stabbed by a drunk during a protest march in Brooklyn in 1991.
This is not to say that he’s been on the wrong side of every issue. He organized protests following the racially motivated 1986 Howard Beach slaying of Michael Griffiths and the torture of Haitian immigrant Abner Louima by police in 1997, incidents that ought to have outraged all New Yorkers.
Fomenting race hatred, however (which Sharpton’s tirades and derisive tone invariably do), is an imperative for such self-styled “civil rights” activists, since the existence of same justifies their existence. If you asked New Yorkers (including blacks) back in the late ’80s, many would have told you they considered Sharpton no more than “a fat nigger with a big mouth.” I’m only repeating what I heard …
He’s slimmed down, to his credit, but the gutter invective and classless, pimpish countenance are still present; his blacks-as-victims rhetoric is still the worst kind of divisive paranoia. Although he is now marginally articulate as opposed to barely so (I imagine anyone can improve with years of practice), he can actually afford to be more honest than the other Democrat candidates, who seek to do the same things as would Sharpton on various scales. Given people’s expectations of him and the liberal media’s condescending view of blacks in general, he can more easily get away with blatantly socialistic, entitlement-minded statements than can his Caucasian counterparts.
The kicker for me is this: Despite Sharpton’s rhetoric – which more than suggests that nearly all whites lie awake at night cooking up new ways to screw blacks – it’s not like he was born into a disadvantaged life. Rather, it was the divorce of his parents in 1964 that took Sharpton from middle-class comfort to welfare and housing projects – something that can and regularly does happen to children of all races.
The reason I’m bringing this up at all is because I think there’s a larger lesson here. This being that while Alan Keyes was probably fairly representative of the Republicans’ offering for a man of color with respect to the party’s integrity and values overall, Sharpton is very definitely representative of the Democrat Party’s integrity and values – particularly those of self-aggrandizement and lust for power.