Far be it from me to say, ”I told you so” but I told you so. Back on April 21, 2006, I wrote a column titled ”Revs. Arrive, Truth Dies.” I went out on a limb and predicted the alleged rapists from Duke University were innocent and would be proven so in a court of law. Have you read a newspaper recently?

At first I had my suspicions given the seriousness of the allegations and the setting in which they occurred. However, the moment Revs. Jackson and Sharpton arrived to stake their claim in the media circus I knew the boys were innocent. When Jackson and Sharpton show up, truth dies and rumor and innuendo take over. All so the Revs. get maximum camera time.

The Revs. demanded that someone be charged immediately. As far as the Revs. were concerned a trial wasn’t necessary. The boys had to be guilty. Sharpton claimed these ”rich white boys” attacked a ”black girl” and if there weren’t arrests immediately there would be no peace. The entire black community of Durham had been whipped into a frenzy. Town hall meetings were filled with Durham residents demanding Mike Nifong file charges against the accused.

Forget investigation. Forget evidence. Forget protocol … the very processes these two would be demanding if the tables were turned. The Revs. had poured gasoline on the flames of hatred and the fire was out of control. The only way to douse the flame was to indict, convict and punish.

Now the facts are in. While facts never seemed important to Jesse or Al, they sure are important to the innocent lacrosse players and their families. And now they will also have great impact on Mr. Nifong and his future with the Durham District Attorney’s Office as well as the American Bar Association.

The ”conclusive” DNA evidence Nifong said would convict these boys has exonerated them. The DNA of multiple men was found inside the accuser’s body. A fact Nifong knew all along. Only one problem, none of it matched the accused. Oops! Now the accuser has just given birth to a baby. A child who’s father is not a lacrosse player.

True to form, Jesse and Al are now nowhere to be found. Apologies to the community Jesse and Al divided have yet to be offered. The lives of the accused have been changed forever by these false and inflammatory accusations and not even a word from the Revs. Maybe Jesse will now offer the boys a scholarship just as fast as he offered one to the alleged victim. The aftermath of Jesse and Al’s escapades has become all too familiar. The victims of Tawana Brawley’s lies never received an apology either, even after their lives had been destroyed.

I am not na?ve enough to believe racism does not exist in America. Racism can be found from citizens of all colors and ethnic backgrounds. Yet it seems the only racism we ever hear about is that of whites towards blacks. I heard a lot about Trent Lott and a few innocent comments at a birthday party but very little about the blatant attacks of the Revs. on the Duke lacrosse players. Racism regardless of the source is wrong and should be denounced.

In my opinion, Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton are the definition of racism in America. Their racist reactions often times harm race relations more than they help. When will both the black and white communities alike hold these ”reverends” accountable? They are supposed to be peacemakers. Most of the fruit I see from them is far from peaceful or restorative. Their actions tend to drive a deep wedge amongst our citizens. And for what? To line their pockets?

I just hope this latest example of racism coming from Jackson and Sharpton exposes the hypocrisy that propels these charlatans. The reverends assume if an alleged crime is white on black then the accused is guilty until proven innocent. If it is a black on white or black on black crime then we must assume innocence at all costs. And if they do turn out to be guilty, it is someone else’s fault … poverty, fatherless upbringing, the ”man” holding them back.

People from all walks of life commit crimes. When a crime is committed we all must assume innocence. That goes for Jesse and Al as well. In this case the reverends should be sued. Sued for big money until they realize that their thirst for the camera can not take priority over one of the most basic tenets of our legal system – innocent until proven guilty. Regardless of skin color.

Future hijackings of public opinion by race baiters should cost them personally. It is only when hate-filled men like Jesse and Al are called to account for their actions that we will see racism banished to the place it belongs.

If you want to see racism stop in America we must hold people responsible for irresponsible speech and behavior. Screaming ”fire” in a crowded theater is not protected by the First Amendment and neither should the language of racism.



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