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Three police Officers in Wilmington North Carolina were caught on tape giving their real opinions on African Americans. Officer Michael “Kevin” Piner said “We’re just going to go out and start slaughtering them fucking niggers. Wipe them off the fucking map. That’ll put them back about four or five generations.” The other two officers involved in this disgusting racist hate filled conversation were Jesse E Moore II and Officer James “Brian” Gilmore. The three men fantasized about the best methods they’d use to kill the most black people and Piner revealed that he began stockpiling assault rifles to prepare for a new civil war. The officers always refereed to black people using various racial slurs and saved their most virulent words for Black Lives Matter protestors.
Officer Moore began to describe a recent arrest involving a black woman. He told Piner and Gilmore that she “needed a bullet in the head right then and there then move the body out of the way and keep going.”
After the Police Chief listened to the recording he fired all three officers right away, and began an investigation into their conduct. All 3 officers have been on the job for 20+ years. Knowing how much they hate black people can you imagine what they’ve been doing to black people in Wilmington all that time? There’s no way you can have that much hate in your heart and still treat everyone equally. I wonder how many black lives have they ruined.
To dispel the myth of “blue solidarity” officer Moore and Gilmore also complained about black officers they worked with calling one a “piece of shit” and said “let’s see how his boys take care of him when shit gets rough, see if they don’t put a bullet in his head”.
The murder of George Floyd has exposed an open wound that white America has tried to cover up and ignore since reconstruction. As African Americans we know exactly what most police officers think of us. We have experienced police brutality and murder by police since slavery ended. The way we’ve been terrorized by law enforcement isn’t new but what is new is more white Americans are finally acknowledging the problem but change is a lot harder than most think.
It’s kind of ironic that these 3 police officers are from Wilmington North Carolina. Wilmington has a horrible history that they kept hidden for almost a century. In 1898 Wilmington’s black community was thriving and gaining power. They even won elected offices against white candidates. Whites in the town were jealous of the black community’s success so they planned and executed a massacre on the black community that left 60 black residents dead and black owned businesses burned to the ground. Before the massacre black residents in Wilmington had created a successful affluent life for themselves. They owned businesses, they had doctors, lawyers, a local newspaper, opened a school, built the towns first library and educated themselves about politics. In one night everything the black community worked so hard to build was gone. Those who survived the massacre packed up what was left and moved north. Please watch the short documentary below for the full story.
When I read this quote from one of the fired officers (Officer Kevin Piner) “we’re just going to go out and start slaughtering them fucking niggers. Wipe them off the fucking map. That’ll put them back about four or five generations.” It sounds like the exact mindset the white mob had back in 1898. Here we are in 2020 and the same kind of evil is visible once again. Those three officers decided their ancestors led a successful slaughter that killed a lot of black people and destroyed their political power and wealth for generations so why not try it again.
Until we confront the ugly history of white supremacy, police brutality, and systemic racism in this country we will never be able to move forward. We can’t keep trying to sweep everything under the rug. Attending a few marches, bringing down a few statues, getting rid of a few officers and promising to do better will not work this time. We need to dismantle the entire criminal justice system and rebuild it with racial equality in mind. We want radical change and until we get that this country will never see peace.
North Carolina’s Governor Pat McCrory and the state’s republican led legislature had a very different way to address the police shootings of unarmed African-American men happening in our state and around the country. The most recent shooting took place in Charlotte just a few days ago. There are conflicting accounts of what happened but here are the basics. Keith Lamont Scott was sitting in his car waiting for his son to get out of school. A Charlotte police officer arrived on the scene to serve a warrant to another man who had no connection to Keith Scott at all. At some point Keith exits his car and a few seconds later the officer shot and killed Keith as his family and neighbors looked on in horror. There are a lot of questions that need to be answered but our governor Pat McCrory and the republican led legislature passed a bill last month that will further inflame the already tense relationship between African Americans and police. And the really sad part about the bill is there was no need for it at all. McCrory is up for reelection and his race became a lot tighter than he expected. To help turn out the republican base he crafted a number of bills just to get his supporters to turn out and vote for him in November.
A month ago they announced, passed, and signed into law a bill that prohibits the release of police body cam and dash cam video to the public. In order to see any of the video from police dash or body cams it has to first be approved by the governor or adjudicated by a judge. The bill was written to give the governor total discretion over this and there’s no way for a citizen or a journalist to demand a viewing or release of this footage. So Governor McCrory is perfectly fine with police brutality against African-Americans and police killing unarmed African-Americans, he just wants to keep it private. That’s his answer to this problem. That bill is a huge middle finger to the entire African American community and the governor along with his fellow republicans in the state legislature couldn’t care less.
To me it seems as if these guys pine for the days of Jim Crow and have passed a lot of legislation that gives credence to this theory. They want African Americans to suffer in silence while our rights are being trampled over daily. This new law also allows white people to ignore these horrible situations of police brutality, unjust murder, and misconduct perpetrated against African Americans. All they see is the angry protest and violence that follows. Without proper context and video evidence of the incident they may look at the community’s reaction and see it as unreasonable. Of course that was the intention McCrory and NC republican legislators had in mind when they drafted the bill. We’re supposed to ignore the violence and dehumanization when it’s coming from police, but everyone gets to pay attention to the protest that follows not even acknowledging that it was a response to an unjust shooting and one more life of an African American needlessly taken. Governor McCrory has shown us his character (or lack thereof) throughout his term as governor. He has shown the African American community what he really thinks of us through the bills he signs, the actions he takes, and the constituents he chooses to listen to. He let the extreme right-wing of the state’s legislature turn him into a callous unsympathetic alt-right cliche. I’m not sure why they even bother wasting money on body cams in my state when the public can’t even view the footage. The body cams weren’t going to end these wrongful deaths but they were supposed to bring a sense of accountability so the community could start to build trust with law enforcement.
So I ask myself What is our governor doing with these videos? Maybe McCrory and his fellow republican lawmakers collect these videos to show them when they have movie night at the governor’s mansion… eating popcorn and laughing at African Americans getting stopped by police for no reason, getting stripped searched on the side of a highway as cars slow down to witness the indignity, watching a man get chocked to death by police on a sidewalk while pleading for his life telling them over and over that he can not breath. Watching an 8 year old African American child playing alone in a park get shot by police before he could even see what was coming. Watching an unarmed African American teenager walking away from police then getting shot in the back. Then that same officer walks over to the teen’s lifeless body and decides to unload the rest of his clip into the already dead teen as the young man’s body heaved and convulsed after each shot hit him. Or maybe they are watching the one of the 13 year old African American girl who got thrown to the ground and manhandled like a rag doll before the officer puts his knee and his full weight into her back while pushing her face into the dirt while she screamed and begged for her mother, all for the crime of attending a pool party in an all white neighborhood thrown by a classmate. I bet Governor McCrory and those far right extremist he tries so hard to impress would get a huge laugh at all of that kind of stuff. Putting those new body cameras to good use.
This year mainstream America have been forced to witness something that black America has known and tried to sound the alarm on for decades. RACISM EXISTS AND IT EFFECTS EVERY PART OF AMERICAN LIFE. Amazingly we have social media to thank for exposing this simple truth. Network news and print media’s failure to properly address and report the truth about systemic racism gave enterprising bloggers an opportunity to correct this using the power of social media. Mainstream media’s reporting on race issues were all one dimensional only focusing on overt racism (white people using racial slurs, KKK, refusal of service based on race etc).
After the Civil Rights movement our government put in place laws that ended segregation, ended refusal of service based on race, and protected the voting rights of African Americans. All of these changes were huge steps toward racial equality, but none of them addressed systemic and institutional racism. Those outside of the minority community assumed racism was over and turned their attention elsewhere. Mainstream media did the same. In instances where institutionalized racism appeared (such as incarceration stats, or public school funding) those who didn’t want to see it or acknowledge it would come up with 50 different explanations besides race to explain it. Those who objected were labeled “race baiters” or “race pimps” and African Americans who wanted to discuss this were accused of playing the “race card”.
Fox News and the network’s show hosts became pros at dismissing racism with condescending editorials full of misinformation. They explain every symptom of institutionalized racism as a moral failure of African American culture. We’ve all heard this before; having children out of wedlock and one parent homes explains why kids join gangs and end up in prison. Dependence on welfare explains why the unemployment rate is higher among African Americans. Laziness and a poor work ethic explains the large income gap between whites and African Americans, and hip hop music explains an elevated crime rate in African American inner city neighborhoods. What most people fail to realize is, the moral failure argument is the same argument that slave owners and segregationist used to justify their racist views on African Americans. In other words, if you buy into the “moral failure” argument, you’re also buying into the white supremacist African Americans are inferior argument. That’s exactly what Fox News and conservative media have relentlessly pushed for decades. The election of Barack Obama seemed to accelerate their appetite for this kind of reporting even more.
Bottom line is this: if you look at the high incarceration rates, the wealth gap, the crime rate, the drop-out rate, and the high unemployment rate of African Americans as a moral failure that you have no obligation to help or correct, then you are RACIST. I use that word with great caution when I write because it requires some personal knowledge of how a person thinks and reacts to the world around him. But I feel extremely comfortable with labeling people who adhere to the Fox News and conservative media school of thought as a racist. Bill O’Reilly, Sean Hannity, and Rush Limbaugh are leaders in the conservative media entertainment complex who have made millions by supporting white supremacist ideology hidden under the cover of political debate and commentary.
The rise of police brutality against African Americans, police killing unarmed African Americans, white people who fear physical violence at the hands of African Americans, the growing divide between the races, the rise in organized hate groups, and the rise in hate crimes are the result of conservative media’s white supremacist ideology that continues to inch closer and closer towards the mainstream. The depravity of those who make a living by misinforming their audience needs to be exposed, and those who consume this misinformation needs to open their eyes to the consequences of their consumption.
The most recent consequence is named Dylann Storm Roof. On June 11, 2015 a 21 year old named Dylann Storm Roof walked into a friendly, kind, loving Christian church who welcomed him (a stranger) with open arms. He sat with them for the hour long Bible study service they were having. He listened to them pray, he listened to them sing, he watched them engage in Christ-like fellowship. After watching all of this for an hour he stands up pulls out a gun and began shooting. He killed 9 goodhearted Christian people just because they were black. He listened as one of the church members who welcomed him like family a few minutes prior, begged him not to do it and responded saying “you rape our women, you’re destroying our country, you’re taking over our country, so I have to kill you”, then reloaded and continued putting multiple bullets into the church-goers to make sure they were dead.
This terrorist may have grown up in a household where racist thoughts and beliefs were very common. But he could have shed those beliefs while entering adulthood and gaining a more realistic look at race and the world around him. Instead, that early predisposition for racist thought found a place to feed and grow in conservative media. Dylann told his African American victims that he had to kill them because they were criminals and rapist, and he wanted to take his country back. This horrendously racist way of thinking isn’t far from the kind commentary you can find in conservative media on any given day. Political commentator Chris Hayes pointed this out on his MSNBC show “All In” (see video below).
Dylann Storm Roof is responsible for his actions and he should be punished accordingly, but we can’t ignore the atmosphere that created this deranged racist killer. We can’t ignore the steady diet of racist propaganda and misinformation from Fox News and conservative media that gave him the justifiable motivation needed to commit this heinous atrocity without a shred of remorse. So Fox News and the conservative media entertainment complex bares just as much blame for the 9 deaths in Charleston as Dylann Storm Roof. If our justice system really was fair, Fox News would be facing 9 murder charges while sitting in a cell right next to Dylann.
Resources and thought provoking links
Welfare Queen 2015
Bill O’Reilly Calls Protesters Race Agitators
20 Things To Know About Race
How Fox News Views Race
Proof Of Racial Profiling
Racist Rancher Becomes GOP Hero
Revised Jim Crow
No Justice For Trayvon
SNL Skit About Race
10 Issuesless Topics To Distract
Freddie Gray May Get Justice
The Death of Mike Brown
Pointergate Exposes Racial Divide
Twice a week white officers shoot black suspects
Blacks suffering under stop and frisk:
Race and the drug war:
Stats on African American’s disproportionate contact with police:
Mass incarceration of minorities:
Racism in the prison industrial complex:
Prison became the new Jim Crow:
Racial Bias in hiring:
Whiter jobs, higher wages – EPI Report
The Racist Housing Policy that Made Your Neighborhood:
The Case for Reparations:
Take Down The Confederate Flag:
Racial Wealth Gap:
Race Forward important research about racism:
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum thinks government funded social programs are the government giving lazy black people hard-working white people’s money: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MdfZmcuomcE
Special thanks to Laci Green for the reference material and links. Follow her on facebook
http://www.facebook.com/officiallacigreen and twitter http://www.twitter.com/gogreen18
Spoken word artist Crystal Valentine performs a very emotionally charged poem titled “Black Privilege” in a poetry slam competition. One of the most moving lines in her poem tackled the issue of police brutality against black men, and the scourge of gun violence taking way too many young promising lives in urban communities. She says “Black privilege is me having already memorized my nephew’s eulogy, my brother’s eulogy, my father’s eulogy, my unconceived child’s eulogy. Black privilege is me thinking my sister’s name is safe from that list.” Valentine is one of six performing poets who represented NYU at the poetry slam this year. Her team ended up winning which was no surprise to anyone who listened to her performance.
Ms Valentine makes me proud to be part of a resilient culture who takes oppression and intolerance and turns it into extraordinary talent and beautiful artistry. If you’re not moved by her amazing 3 minute video clip, you should contact a doctor immediately because something is seriously wrong with you. She poured her heart out on that stage layering vulnerability on top of confidence on top of self critical introspection. There aren’t many people who can touch your soul with just a few words. That’s power. That’s talent. That’s the power of blackness.
In a shocking turn-of-events Maryland State Attorney Marilyn Mosby announced Friday that six Baltimore police officers involved in the arrest and death of Freddie Gray, due to a severed spinal cord, will be charged criminally. Attorney Mosby stood on the steps of the War Memorial Building in Baltimore before a crowd of reporters and local citizens and delivered a well thought confident and resolute statement explaining some of the details she gathered from her independent investigation. During that investigation she found evidence that lead her to believe the initial arrest of Freddie Gray was not warranted. The officers who arrested him lied in their statements and said he had an illegal switchblade but Mosby said Freddie had a legal pocket knife. Marilyn Mosby is new to the office of State Attorney only being there for 3 months now, which I believed played a part in her decision to charge and prosecute. She has no obligations or improper relationships with the police department, and she hasn’t been there long enough to owe anyone any favors yet.
Warrants were issued for the arrest of all six officers, and here are the names and charges:
Officer Caesar Goodson Jr., 45, who was the driver of a police van that carried Gray through the streets of Baltimore, was charged with second-degree murder, manslaughter, second-degree assault, two vehicular manslaughter charges and misconduct in office.
Officer William Porter, 25, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Lt. Brian Rice, 41, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Sgt. Alicia White, 30, was charged with involuntary manslaughter, second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Officer Edward Nero, 29, was charged with second-degree assault and misconduct in office.
Officer Garrett Miller, 26, was charged with second-degree assault, misconduct in office and false imprisonment.
If convicted of all charges, Goodson would face up to 63 years in prison. Rice would face up to 30 years and Porter, Nero, Miller and White would face up to 20 years.
It’s important to remember that this is just the beginning. It feels very vindicating to make it this far because we’ve seen prosecutor after prosecutor look the other way and decline to charge officers with anything when the life of an unarmed black man is taken. It’s ok to enjoy the relief we feel by crossing this first hurtle, but we have a long way to go before we can see true just justice. So don’t let this lure you into complacency or dampen the urgency and determination that has fueled protest and the #BlackLivesMatter movement. We’ve worked so hard to get the attention of our leaders and the world and as long as we keep the pressure on we’ll continue to make progress towards our ultimate goal of a total reconstruction of our entire criminal justice system and the removal of all institutionalized racism within the system.
After the murder of unarmed black teenager Mike Brown by a white Ferguson Missouri police officer, a protest movement began to emerge. The most visible and well organized movement was started by 3 women of color who were fed up with the injustice and wanted to do whatever they could to unite everyone around the idea that black lives have just as much value as any other and highlight the very apparent fact that a lot of police and other people in positions of power do not value black lives. This ugly truth has been verified by extensive studies and backed-up by police arrest/encounter statistics in every police department all over the country. I’ve written a number of blogs about the data and provided source information in every one of them, so if that’s what you’re looking for feel free to look through Socially Urban’s archives. This blog is about the 3 founders of the “Black Lives Matter” movement, and how some well-meaning misguided men are questioning the movement because the founders are gay women. Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi jumped right in from the very beginning in Ferguson even before the media arrived. They organized, they protested, they marched, they kept everyone up to date on twitter, and dedicated themselves to this movement. Black Lives Matter gave the movement a tangible legitimacy that it seemed to be lacking from the outside looking in.
When the movement went national they added another integral piece to the protest movement’s leadership and his name was Darnell L Moore who also happens to be gay. Keep in mind that none of these people are getting paid or doing any of this for money. Black Lives Matter is a nonprofit protest movement that started very small but quickly
became the catalyzing force behind a well oiled tech-savvy social media explosion that allowed the protesters on the streets in different cities to pool resources and push for specific political changes in the cities where police brutality surfaced and gained national attention. Here’s how Alicia Garza puts it “We were humbled when cultural workers, artists, designers and techies offered their labor and love to expand #BlackLivesMatter beyond a social media hashtag. Opal, Patrisse, and I created the infrastructure for this movement project—moving the hashtag from social media to the streets. Our team grew through a very successful Black Lives Matter ride in Ferguson, led and designed by Patrisse Cullors and Darnell L. Moore.”
Other protest movements and community activist began to use the “Black Lives Matter” slogan and infrastructure in other protest related activities and events. But when they would call for permission they never wanted the input of the founders. They would write articles and stories and completely omit the 3 lesbian founders and Darnell L Moore. Now that all of them are speaking out about it and wanting to bring attention to the work the black lgbt community is doing in the anti-police violence movement. Some are trying to inject their personal homophobia into this situation by questioning the motives of the Black Lives Matters movement strictly based on the sexuality of the BLM founders. altogether. If you’re a black person gay or straight this attempt to divide and conquer should sicken you. Police brutality and how they devalue the lives of black people needs EVERYONE who’s willing and able to fight. Gay activist bring so much knowledge and know-how to the movement because we’ve been relentlessly fighting and protesting for the right to marry for the past decade. They patterned their “right to marry” movement after MLK’s civil rights movement in the late 60’s
and because of that we now have legal gay marriage in 37 states with a case before the Supreme Court right now that will lead to gay marriage rights in all 50 states. You have to question the motivation of someone who’s willing to destroy an entire movement because gay people make them uncomfortable. The gay people protesting right beside you for the same cause is not the enemy. If we start thinking like that, we’ve already lost before we’ve even began. People like Tariq Nasheed who’s been one of the most vocal critics against lgbt people of color, has a history of misogynistic homophobic divisive hate-speech and if anyone cares about the movement against police brutality specifically against black men, they’ll see him for what he really is. A pseudo-intellectual idiot who should’t be taken seriously on any level. His message is outdated and counter-productive, and if listened to will divide and weaken the collective force the “Black Lives Matter” campaign has amassed. But no matter how hard they try to bury the 3 lesbian founders, we will continue to protest, speak-up, and march for what’s right. Whether we get the recognition or not.
Very relevant side note about a civil rights icon who most Americans haven’t heard of:
Martin Luther King’s most trusted adviser was a black gay man named Bayard Rustin. MLK knew Rustin was gay but saw the value he brought to the movement. Without Rustin there wouldn’t
have been a March on Washington, and MLK’s I Have A Dream speech wouldn’t have had the same grandeur and resonance without the image of 250,000 people of all colors uniting on the national mall all the way to the steps of the capital just to hear this extraordinary black leader speak. Whether there in person or watching on tv at home, the entire nation was captivated. That whole event was created and planned by Bayard Rustin. An out gay proud black civil rights hero who deserves to be recognized for his work within the movement.
More video of the events that took place after the murder of 12 year old Tamir Rice finally got released today (1/9/15) and it’s even worse than I expected. After watching the behavior of the officers in the video I thought to myself, this is what happens when life is devalued because of race. To people like me this video is sickening and hard to comprehend how children could be treated this way. A little boy murdered by police while playing on a playground. His older sister tackled and wrestled to the ground, forced in handcuffs then tossed in the backseat of a police car while watching her little brother bleed to death only a few feet away while police officers offer the dying kid no medical help at all. No one calls an ambulance, no one tries cpr, no one tries to stop the bleeding for a full 8 minutes. You can see them walk very casually around the bleeding dying kid with no sense of urgency. It was like Tamir’s life didn’t matter at all to them. It was more important to tackle and arrest his 14 year old sister who only wanted to help her dying brother.
If you read the account given by the officer before he knew this tragic incident was all caught on video, you’ll notice some disturbing similarities to the statements given by other officers who were also involved in shooting an unarmed African American. In the cases where there is no video, most officials and non minorities tend to believe the account given by police. But in every case where there is video of the event, the video directly contradicts the story given by police. What’s even sadder is even when there is a video that proves the officer lied or misrepresented the events that took place, the officer still does not get charged. Apparently murder, conspiracy, reckless endangerment, and giving false statements aren’t crimes when the victim is African American and the perpetrator carries a badge.
By watching the initial video of the shooting we’ve been able to confirm 5 lies that the Cleveland police department and Officer Timothy Loehmann have told:
1. Police said that Tamir Rice was seated at a table with other people.
TRUTH: Tamir Rice was not seated at a table with other people.
2. Police said that as they pulled up, they saw Tamir Rice grab the gun and put it in his waistband.
TRUTH: Tamir Rice does not appear to grab the gun and put it in his waistband.
3. Police said they got out of the car and told Tamir Rice three times to put his hands up but he refused.
TRUTH: Police shot and killed Tamir in less than two seconds and could not have told him to put his hands up three times.
4. Police said that Tamir Rice then reached into his waistband and pulled out the gun, and was then shot and killed by Officer Timothy Loehmann.
TRUTH: Tamir Rice absolutely does not pull the toy gun out of his waistband and brandish it in any way. This fact is crucial.
5. The officer who shot and murdered Tamir Rice (Timothy Loehmann) was described as a rookie.
TRUTH: Timothy Loehmann was not a rookie, but had been an officer for over two years.
The civil rights activist, the radio/tv personality, the revered reverend, the best selling author, the voice of black America, the founder and president of The National Action Network Reverend Al Sharpton has been a lightening rod of controversy for decades now. But ever since Barack Obama became president Reverend Al’s close relationship with him has raised his national profile in ways that even he did not expect. The positives are quite obvious such as increased visibility which gives him a platform to bring attention to specific areas or incidents of injustice, an hour-long cable news program on MSNBC (Politics Nation), a lucrative book deal for The Rejected Stone which chronicles his personal evolution from a controversial street activist to a national civil rights icon, increased visibility for his nonprofit civil rights organization the National Action Network, and a seat at the table when new civil rights legislation gets crafted. His proximity to power is envied by many, but there is a downside to being as outspoken and unapologetically supportive of President Obama. That downside is Fox News and the cabal of conservative media who are dedicated to destroy the president, his legacy, and anyone who supports him.
Every liberal commentator and political activist in this country should expect harsh and sometimes unfair critiques from their conservative counterparts. It comes with the territory. I’ve heard people say a vigorous debate is a sign of a healthy democracy, which is true. But there’s a caveat that says if you’re going to enter the world of politics you better have a tough skin, a strong sense of who you are, and a clear set of guiding principles that underpins everything you say and do. If you’re lacking in any of those, it will show sooner or later and the power and influence you thought you had will all disappear. The Reverend Al Sharpton has been in the public eye fighting for civil rights for almost 5 decades and continues to prove himself effective when injustice victimize’s the voiceless. There aren’t many leaders who have a 5 decade long history that sees their power and influence grow exponentially without being the real deal. Character, integrity, and passion aren’t things you can fake sustainably. That’s why all the hate and vitriol being thrown at him constantly over the years have never stuck and that’s why many African-Americans respect and revere him as a leader. Conservatives tried to block Barack Obama’s first bid for President and failed. They tried to stop President Obama’s reelection and failed. Now they are trying to attack Sharpton and marginalize the power of his organization, and they are failing at that as well. Their most recent attack came from Fox News commentator Bill O’Reilly after the murder of an unarmed African-American teen named Michael Brown by a white police officer in Ferguson Missouri. The African-American community of that town expressed their anger and outrage through nonviolent protest. There was a very small number of people who used the protest as a cover to loot and vandalize local businesses. Bill O’Reilly and other Fox News hosts accused Reverend Sharpton of inciting violence and inflaming tension between the African-American community and the police.
Bill said Sharpton inserted himself into the protest to get media attention and no one asked Sharpton to get involved or for any help. Of course none of that was true and anyone who knows how to use google could debunk everything O’Reilly said with an internet connection and two minutes. For example, here are two video clips. The first video is Al Sharpton’s first speech given as soon as he arrived in Ferguson at the behest of Micheal Brown’s family. The second video is Bill O’Reilly lying on air saying Sharpton incited violence.
There’s not one word in Sharpton’s entire statement that anyone could misunderstand as inflammatory or a call for violence. Sharpton clearly called for peace and pleaded with the community to keep the protest nonviolent. Fox News and Bill O’Reilly never aired this clip and made a conscience decision to lie on air to their viewers. Fox does this all the time but O’Reilly lies over and over about issues that involve race. Here’s another video where O’Reilly lied saying that African-American democrat organizers of an MLK day event excluded white republicans from speaking. The day after he lied and ranted about this he had to apologize on air because the press called him out on it.
Bill O’Reilly has a very skewed racist view of black America and constantly confuses Hip Hop culture and entertainment with African-American culture. Al Sharpton invited O’Reilly to have dinner in Harlem at one of Harlem’s most popular eating establishments Sylvia’s. After the dinner O’Reilly told his radio audience about it the next day. He told them that he was surprised how clean and nice it was even though it was owned and run by African-Americans. He said no one was yelling profanity, everyone was nice and respectful, and the African-American’s eating there were well dressed and well-behaved. He was amazed by this. When talking about Bill O’Reilly I always go back to this story about Sylvia’s because it explains how he views African Americans. So when he calls our first African-American president and our first African-American attorney general thugs, and calls well-respected African-American civil rights leaders “race agitators” or “race hustlers”, we all know what kind of mind that comes from.
One of Al Sharpton’s most popular critiques from conservatives asks why doesn’t Sharpton talk about black on black crime. Why isn’t he organizing and marching in Detroit and Chicago where inner city crime is rampant? You’ll hear that one on Fox a lot too. I have to laugh every time I hear a conservative say that because it shows they have no idea what they are talking about. Al Sharpton and his nonprofit have organized rallies and marches in both of those cities. He held a widely televised town hall in Detroit and even temporarily moved into an inner city apartment in Chicago to see first hand what the impoverished residents were dealing with. Despite how easily accessible this information is, somehow it remains hidden from Fox and other conservatives.
Another popular critique from conservatives is Reverend Sharpton only wants to help black people, so that makes him racist. To debunk this first we need to understand what a civil rights activist is. A civil rights activist or a civil rights organization uses political levers to secure equal opportunity for members of a less powerful minority group. The key word there is “equal”. So if you’re working towards making things equal for every race, you are trying to give minorities the same rights and treatment as those in the majority or those who have more power. African-Americans are a minority group who have been and continue to be discriminated against because of race. So a civil rights organization or activist takes on issues where African-Americans aren’t being treated as equals (to whites). That does not mean you only want to help black people because you don’t like white people. That is just ridiculous. When we finally have racial equality then we will not have a need for civil rights activist anymore.
One more popular critique I’d like to discuss is why doesn’t Al Sharpton and his organization help out when a black person kills a white person. First we need to correct a common misperception. Al Sharpton and his organization do not get involved with every case where there’s a black victim and a white perpetrator. To get involved they look for instances where the crime that was committed has racial elements that lead to the crime or racial elements that have the potential to hinder a fair and equal outcome. I’ll use the Trayvon Martin case as an example. Al Sharpton did not get involved just because Trayvon was a black kid. He got involved because the district attorney in Sanford had no plans to charge George Zimmerman with anything. Check the facts and you’ll see that the D.A. hadn’t filed charges a full month after Trayvon’s death. Then the family called Reverend Sharpton for help. He organized protest and used his high-profile to get the media to pay attention to the incident. The pressure from media and other civil rights organizations finally forced the DA to file charges against George Zimmerman. So Sharpton and NAN weren’t asking for a conviction, all they were asking for was a fair trial. If the district attorney in Sanford would have presented the case to a grand jury (just like they are supposed to) there wouldn’t have been a need for Sharpton to get involved.
I wrote this blog because I thought Reverend Sharpton didn’t deserve all the hateful comments and coverage from conservative media. He is flawed just like any other human and has made mistakes in the past, but the people who are throwing slurs and criticizing him for being passionate about civil rights hasn’t done anything close to the kind of work he’s dedicated his life to. This man is cut from the same cloth as MLK or Kennedy. Don’t believe the racist caricature the conservative media has tried to make him out to be. Do some research about the real man and see what he’s about before passing judgement. We have so few national civil rights leaders left. We should be thankful that he is still able to fight on our behalf, even when his character gets called into question and the hate gets thrown. I’m not sure I’d be able to withstand that kind of scrutiny. So please do some research on him and his nonprofit group National Action Network and see for yourself. Don’t let people who have an agenda tell you who he is (me included).