Monday, December 14, 2020

Still The Race Man




Look who's back- it's Al Sharpton!

At 57:46 of the relevant portion of the video below, Reverend Sharpton claims

We should not let them submit us to a double standard whether they be on the left or on the right because many of us are not intimidated on either side.  A lot of people call themselves progressive- that call themselves progressive, are progressive about everything but race.

Sharpton then went on to defend the nomination of Lloyd Austin for Secretary of Defense. He did not argue that General Austin should be granted a waiver because he is a particularly good nominee, or that a retired general is a good choice for the position, or that President Biden should be given the utmost deference. No sir, skin color was the overt basis.

Sharpton didn't specify by name anyone not progressive on race. He didn't because he couldn't. He couldn't because, at least among Democratic governors, members of Congress, and presidential candidates, the number varies between 1 and -1,

Among such prominent Democrats, there is none who questioned the motives, ideology, or tactics of the defining organization- Black Lives Matter- of the racial justice/police brutality protests in the summer. Among such Democrats, there is none who questioned the selection of a black vice-presidential nominee as "historic" nor suggested that the candidate, whose father was born in the Caribbean nation of Jamaica, might not be African-American. Nor is there any who has suggested that a President Biden should nominate for cabinet posts individuals on the basis of qualifications and ideological principals aside from race. None.

Only ironically entertained, Matt Stoller finds Sharpton's "critique of progressives who advocate against corporate influence in government as racist somewhat interesting." That's more polite than inaccurate and much more so than reprehensible.  

In January, 2019, as the race for the Democratic presidential nomination began to heat up, Glenn Loury reminded us

Mr. Sharpton came onto the national scene in 1987, during what is now known as the Tawana Brawley affair. On Nov. 28 of that year, a 15-year-old black girl was found lying in a garbage bag, smeared with feces, with various racial slurs and epithets written in charcoal on her body. She said that she’d been raped by six white men and that two were law-enforcement officials. Mr. Sharpton relentlessly championed her cause. And yet, after seven months of examining police and medical records, a grand jury found “overwhelming evidence” that Ms. Brawley had fabricated her entire story.

Yet Mr. Sharpton proceeded to accuse the prosecutor, Steven Pagones, of being one of the perpetrators of the alleged abduction and rape. Mr. Sharpton was successfully sued (along with Ms. Brawley’s lawyers, Anthony H. Maddox Jr. and C. Vernon Mason Sr.) for defamation. The jury in this civil action found Mr. Sharpton liable for making seven defamatory statements about Mr. Pagones, whose life fell apart as a result of the entire episode. Mr. Sharpton refused to pay his share of damages, which was later paid by a number of his supporters, and he has refused to apologize.

In August 1991, after an automobile accident involving the motorcade of a Hasidic rabbi accidentally killed a black child, riots broke out in the Crown Heights neighborhood of Brooklyn. Much of the press portrayed it as a kind of cultural clash between the black and Jewish communities, but it was described accurately by the Times columnist, A.M. Rosenthal, as a “pogrom.”

Following the death of the boy, Gavin Cato, hundreds of black men took to the streets. Within hours of the accident, 20 young black men surrounded Yankel Rosenbaum, a 29-year-old Australian yeshiva student visiting the United States to conduct research for his doctorate. They stabbed him several times in the back and beat him. He subsequently died of his injuries. The rioting continued for three days, leaving 152 police officers and 38 civilians injured. At least 122 blacks and seven whites were arrested.

Amid this unrest, Mr. Sharpton led hundreds of protesters on a march in front of the headquarters of the Chabad-Lubavitch Hasidic movement. During his remarks at Gavin Cato’s funeral, at which there was a banner declaring, “Hitler did not do the job,” Mr. Sharpton let loose with a eulogy blaming “the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights,” and insisted that “the issue is not anti-Semitism; the issue is apartheid.” He continued: “All we want to say is what Jesus said: If you offend one of these little ones, you got to pay for it. No compromise, no meetings, no kaffeeklatsch, no skinnin’ and grinnin’. Pay for your deeds.”

Four years later, Mr. Sharpton incited violence again. In 1995, Fred Harari, a Jewish tenant of a retail property on 125th Street who operated Freddy’s Fashion Mart, sought to evict his longtime subtenant, a black-owned record store called the Record Shack. Beginning that August, Mr. Sharpton led a series of marches against the planned eviction. Protesters led by Mr. Sharpton’s National Action Network picketed outside the store day after day, referring to Jews as “bloodsuckers” and threatening, “We’re going to burn and loot the Jews.” At one point Mr. Sharpton told protesters, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business.” Never mind that the building was actually owned by a black Pentecostal church.

Then, on Dec. 8, 1995, a protester named Roland J. Smith Jr. entered Mr. Harari’s store, told all the black customers to leave, shot several remaining customers and set the store on fire. The gunman fatally shot himself, and seven store employees died of smoke inhalation.

These incidents transpired a quarter of a century or more ago. Often as people age, they acquire perspective, a modicum of common sense, and a positive moral compass.  It was reasonable to expect that with wider exposure and even a program on a major cable network, Reverend Sharpton would have learned that individuals should be judged on the content of their character rather than the color of their skin. It was reasonable- but naive, because Al Sharpton remains a race hustler.

 


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