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.

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