I've been very critical of 'black leaders' the past several years and its finally come to a head today.
I've always been anti-Jesse Jackson 100% but in truth I had been less troubled by Al Sharpton for whatever reason even though now I see that was a mistake. Al lost the last inkling of the passive silence I afforded him for his latest stunt, going after New York Post columnist Steve Serby for some admittedly inartful comments about Tom Coughlin as it pertained to his star wideout Plaxico Burress. Serby began his column in the Monday edition by opining:
"Good for Tom Coughlin. Good for Coughlin for tightening the noose around Plaxico Burress."
This was an extremely clumsy and poor choice of words, granted, but Sharpton needs to reexamine his priorities right now. Just for comparison, Barack Obama has had his life threatened by two separate incidents that we know about in the past two months since procuring his party's nomination by people who want him dead because he's black (read here and here). A part of this is normal risk that all presidents and public figures face everyday by being important policy makers that might offend a certain segment of nutjobs and wackos out there but no sane person denies that what Barack Obama faces is unlike the security threats that John McCain has had to on a day to day basis throughout the campaign. I say this because it's important that we have leaders that might speak right now in this time of great tension to perhaps quell the heat radiating from the minds of others and remind the masses that we are all one and we all have a place at the table of America and that to defeat one politician with assassin's bullets instead of argued ideas is a direct violation of our democracy and our countries highest values. Sharpton has yet to use his power for good in that capacity.
A white woman in Pennsylvania who fabricated reports of an unnamed black man who attacked and mamed her for her political persuasion and perhaps her race. That was a teaching moment for Sharpton. That was a moment where Sharpton who has been bamboozled and conned by similarly false hoaxes could have met the woman's family, perhaps lent his comfort to her, spoke to the local authorities about making sure the woman got the help she clearly needs as opposed to the ire that he himself knew all to well having been made to look like a fool by charges that ere less than truthful. He could have spoke about how more then ever in these times we need to work harder than ever to make sure something like this doesn't happen again and more importantly cannot happen to exploit the worse impulses and devilish urges we have to believe things that cause us to show our prejudice before learning the truths and motives of everyone so that we can get it right and that justice above all, above our own tribal divisions and petty biases, is out cheif goal. Sharpton instead lost out on that chance.
Monday we learned that the forces of evil had struck again. This time in Jackson, Mississippi as a memorial dedicated to Emmitt Till, an unfortunate casualty of the worst savagery of the twentieth century in the depths of segregated Mississippi, was destroyed by vandals who hadn't the decency to honor the tribute the boy has earned from so many who grieved for him or at the very least respect the loss of basic human life. We needed you Al. We needed you to go down there and stand up and give coverage to a story that many people hadn't even heard it reported. We needed Al to take umbrage personally and not give comfort to those who cower in the dark shadows, those in the hateful minorty, and instead remind them that this behavior is not okay and that is not acceptable and we will not turn away. We needed him to tell them that we will not be changed by your bigotry but will instead change your bigotry. We're keeping a watchful eye on you and your kind and that we will flush you out because we're not going backwards in this country. We're going forward. We needed Al to remind him that we don't revisit history and retread the steps our nation has already been in, we forge on and make history but Al instead chose to remain silent.
And finally and perhaps most dusturning of all these recent racialized stories of domestic terrorism that largely go unchecked On Friday, Oct. 24, 2008, in Paris, Texas Brandon McClelland a black man, was on a late-night beer run across state lines to Oklahoma with two white friends last month and ended up dead on a rural Texas road. Authorities say he was run over by a pickup and then dragged as far as 70 feet beneath the truck. Two white men have been charged with murder in the case. We needed you to make national waves about this. Make it known to people who want to wholesale discount that this kind of stuff still goes on. Make it known to those as a reminder that apathy always makes this kind of behavior okay. Al, it was your responsibility in this matter to bring this to the forefront of the news for at least one newscycle. If one college woman who can fabricate a story about a racial hatred tinged in political intolerance can grab a week of headlines, surely you can hold the nations attention for one damn day over real actual factual authentic racial hate crimes that ought to be recognized.
Of course you can't do these things that we ask. That would be asking for too much wouldn't it? It would be too damned hard. Defending the honor of athletes who should be paid handsomely enough to have thick enough skin for this not to be an issue is more fitting of your pay grade isn't it? In truth you never really ever were in it for the justice, you were in it for something else. What that something else might be I don't know because I rarely try to assign motives but whatever it was, it couldn't have been as honorable as justice though, could it?
No Al, you've lost many bouts in your career but never did I think you'd completely lose your mind.