Roy Exum: Al Sharpton’s Wise Remarks

Wednesday, August 27, 2014 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I’ll admit I paid little more than scant attention to the Monday funeral of Michael Brown, the 18-year-old who was shot and killed by police bullets in Ferguson, Mo., after he allegedly was involved in strong-armed robbery. There are too many tawdry details and, in my way of thinking, there is nothing under God’s sun, absolutely nothing, that gives others the right to riot, burn and break further laws.

But then I saw television commentator Lou Dobbs say that everybody in American should listen to what Rev. Al Sharpton had to say at the funeral. I lost respect for Sharpton, Jesse Jackson and their ilk long ago because I think they use racism to get rich, fanning the flames rather than trying to put the fire out. But I like Lou Dobbs and curiously searched to see what the man they call “The Rev” had to say.

Get the picture: they are gathered to bury an unfortunate kid who, at age 18, already had some “priors,” to use police lingo, and there was no way Sharpton had anything in common with the family. Or so I thought. But, no, Sharpton absolutely hit the nail on the head in his remarks inside the Friendly Temple Missionary Baptist Church.

While he predictably slammed America’s law enforcement arm – not going as far as Jesse who called Brown’s death “a state execution” – he put the blame right at the feet of those most responsible – America’s black people.  “Some of us act like the definition of blackness is how low you can go,” Sharpton bemoaned the crowd.

“Blackness has never been about being a gangster or thug. Blackness was, no matter how low we were pushed down, we rose up anyhow! Blackness was never surrendering our pursuit of excellence. It was when it was against the law to go to some schools, we built black colleges and learned anyhow. When we couldn’t go downtown to church, we built our own. … We never surrendered! We never gave up.”

But that was “back then,” said Sharpton, pointing out that now there is a black president, a black attorney general and other blacks in positions of respect and authority, “it ain’t ‘black’ no more to be successful.”

“Now you want to be a ‘n*****’ and call your woman a ‘ho’ — you’ve lost where you come from! We’ve got to clean up our community so we can clean up the United States of America!” he urged as his straining voice was drowned out by cheers and applause from the crowd.

According to an account on “The Blaze” website, Sharpton said he believed the outrage over Brown’s death was justifiable but said there should be just as much outrage and outcry over “our killing and shooting and running around gun-toting each other” in places like Chicago and elsewhere in the United States.

“Nobody going to help us if we don’t help ourselves,” he said. “Sitting around, feeling sorry for ourselves won’t solve the problems. Michael Brown must be remembered for more than disturbances. He must be remembered for, ‘This is when they started changing what was going on.’”

Sharpton turned his focus on the black looters and rioters. “This is not about you!” Sharpton angrily said. “This is about justice. This is about sadness. And America is going to have to come to terms with, there’s something wrong! That we have money to give military equipment to police forces, but we don’t have money for training and money for public education and money to train our children!”

He even went as far as to blame the looters for violating the Brown family’s sorrow. “They had to pause their mourning to “ask folks to stop looting and rioting. Can you imagine?” he asked. “They’re heartbroken … and they have to stop mourning, to get you to control your anger, like you’re more angry than they are! Like you don’t understand that Michael Brown does not want to be remembered for riots. He wants to be remembered as the one that made America deal with how we’re going to police in the United States!”

* * *

Al Sharpton said exactly what Lou Dobbs believes America needs to hear. Bravo for Al Sharpton! In Chicago 14 were killed last weekend, five of them children. Another 21 were shot within a 12-hour span on Sunday and 12 were shot on Monday (two died). It is totally nuts. Law enforcement is stymied so it is up to the black community – with the whites helping in any way they possibly can – to silence the guns.

If Michael Brown’s death can somehow be used for good, that’s the way all of us ought to remember the lessons now being learned in Ferguson, Missouri.

royexum@aol.com



How Will Community Policing Be Implemented This Time?

Chattanooga, like the rest of the nation, has always had community policing in some form or on some level.  The question is, how will it be used, this time?   In recent time, as it's historically, community policing has been used to segregate by race, class, create chaos, divide communities. Pit neighbor against neighbor. But rarely has it been used to unite and bring ... (click for more)

Roy Exum: Third Son Takes His Life

Steven Ferrin, described by his parents as “a handsome, bubbly and witty young man,” was the victim of what is called “a sectarian attack” in recent weeks near his home in north Belfast (Ireland) and last weekend was found dead after the 31-year-old father of a 7-year-old girl had taken his own life. Compounding the tragedy is the horrific news that Steven’s other two brothers and ... (click for more)

Prosecutor Asks Jury To Find Morse Guilty In Massacre At Lookout Valley RV Park

Prosecutor Cameron Williams on Tuesday asked a Criminal Court jury to find Derek Morse guilty of three counts of first-degree murder as well as attempted first-degree murder in a massacre at a Lookout Valley RV Park on April 9, 2014. Morse, who was 19 at the time, is standing trial in the courtroom of Judge Barry Steelman. Skyler Allen, who was 22 when the shots rang out, ... (click for more)

Defense Will Not Get Federal Witness In Trial Of Truck Driver Charged In Wreck That Killed 6 People

The federal government is resisting sending a lab technician from Oklahoma to Chattanooga for next week's trial of Benjamin Brewer, who is charged in the wreck at Ooltewah that claimed six lives. Mike Little of the public defender's office said the defense should be entitled to have a live witness, but he also said he did not want the trial delayed again. A jury was selected ... (click for more)

Impressive Signal Mountain Whips Red Bank, 3-0

The Signal Mountain Lady Eagles have one of the better volleyball teams in town this fall and it’s no surprise that they are unbeaten in district play. They proved just how good they are Tuesday evening in Red Bank’s Susan Ingram Thurman Gymnasium as they needed about 50 minutes to beat the Lionettes for the second time this season. Set scores were 25-6, 25-7 and 25-15. ... (click for more)

East Hamilton Holds Off Sale Creek For 3-2 Volleyball Win

East Hamilton blew a 2-0 lead, but rebounded in the fifth set Tuesday to beat gutsy Sale Creek 3-2 in high school volleyball action at East Hamilton. “We knew they were a good team, probably the best team we’ve played this season, but I think we gave up after the second game,” East Hamilton’s Jordyn Griffith said. “I think we knew we had it in the bag because we’re a good ... (click for more)