When the story of the Duke lacrosse case first broke, Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP all called for the arrest of the lacrosse players. When the facts came to light (namely, that the students were innocent of rape) neither Sharpton, Jackson, nor the leaders of the NAACP offered an apology or an admission of hasty judgment. Under any circumstances, the rush to wrongfully accuse three students of rape would rightfully be considered slander; when committed by public figures who claim to fight for “racial justice,” it is itself an act of racism.
Unfortunately, this is not an isolated incident; Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, and the NAACP have made a practice of using the weapons of racism when it serves their purposes.
In 2000, the NAACP ran attack ads against then-Governor George W. Bush, implying that he bore responsibility for the death of James Byrd, a black man who was dragged to his death by white racists. Bush’s offense? While governor of Texas, he refused to sign a hate crimes bill. Never mind that Byrd’s murderers had convicted and sentenced by a Texas jury.
In 1991, riots erupted in the Crown Heights neighborhood of New York after a Jewish motorist struck a car containing two children, who died from their injuries. Black residents looted and vandalized homes and stores owned by Jewish residents, all the while shouting “Death to the Jews!” After the death of the children, Al Sharpton delivered an inflammatory speech in which he referred to Jewish residents as “diamond merchants” and organized a protest march. During a spike in racially-motivated violence, Sharpton thought nothing of enflaming racial tension as a “leader of the black community.”
More recently, Jesse Jackson has been slamming subprime lenders for “discrimination” against black homeowners. The evidence? Some of the subprime-mortgage holders are minorities. So far, there’s been no word from Jackson on how the shortsightedness of the lenders or the foolishness of the homeowners translates to racism.
The NAACP, Jesse Jackson, and Al Sharpton are known as the leaders of the black community in America. Yet what have they done for their community?
In the book Scam: How the Black Leadership Exploits Black America, Jesse Lee Peterson notes “I don’t recall the entire black race in this country taking a national vote to elect Jesse Jackson, Al Sharpton, Louis Farrakhan, the NAACP…yet they’ve seized the mantle of leadership and claim to speak for all blacks in this nation.”
Though these self-appointed leaders claim to speak for the disenfranchised and profess a desire for “racial justice,” they continually engage in bigotry against their political foes, as well as their own community.
In the minds of Sharpton and Jackson, blacks are noble and put-upon, whites they disagree with (President Bush, the lacrosse students, the police) are cruel and oppressive, and Jews are greedy and conniving. These crude racial stereotypes are an ugly reminder of the Jim Crow era, a time that the overwhelming majority of Americans resolved to put behind themselves.
Despite the fact that institutional racism in America no longer exists, and it is largely taboo to publicly discriminate by race, creed or ethnicity, Sharpton and his ilk remain committed to the politics of division and hate. These demagogues achieved power by appealing to the worst in people; in order to maintain their influence, they must create new divisions even as old fissures heal. These “heirs to the civil rights movement” make a living by piling fresh discriminations atop old ones.
Worst of all, these heinous practices have done the most damage to those that Jackson and the other race hucksters profess to serve; the black community. At a time when nearly seventy percent of black children are born out of wedlock, Sharpton and Jackson are telling blacks that their problems can all be attributed to a racist system. As the next generation enters the education system, these snake oil salesmen can be heard degrading the concept of excellence; those who achieve and excel are merely “acting white.”
A prime example of this is Jackson and Sharpton’s treatment of Barack Obama. Obama, an intelligent and accomplished man, could very well be the first African-American to hold the office of president. One would logically assume that the leaders of the black community would be overjoyed to see one of their own in the Oval Office, yet Sharpton and Jackson have been remarkably cool towards Obama. Despite the fact that he holds similar (liberal) political views, Obama diverges sharply from Jackson and Sharpton on matters of race and entitlement. Thus far, Senator Obama has refused to cast categorical blame on blacks or whites, and embodies the ideals of personal achievement and scholastic excellence.
Despite Senator Obama’s positive example, Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and the leaders of the NAACP continue to shape public opinion through their grandstanding and discriminatory politics. This is not mere demagoguery; for twenty years, these toxic prophets have been damning American children with messages of division and despair. I can only hope that one day, they will be held accountable for stranding the next generation in the ghetto.