“Senator, I served with Jack Kennedy. I knew Jack Kennedy. Jack Kennedy was a friend of mine. Senator, you’re no Jack Kennedy.”
– Former senator and 1988 Democratic vice presidential candidate Lloyd Bentsen during a debate with Republican vice presidential candidate Sen. Dan Quayle in which Quayle tried to liken himself to President John F. Kennedy.
Bentsen was right on target about Quayle. He was not, in fact, anything like Kennedy. When someone tries to act like someone they are not, like Quayle did, they deserve to be called on it.
That’s why we are so baffled why the Rev. Al Sharpton considers himself – and some others consider him – to be a civil rights activist. And we are also baffled why he is being introduced by sitting Democratic U.S. senators at Brett Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. Why is this race-baiting man pretending to be a civil rights activist?
One only has to look at this man’s history of comments on white people, Jewish people and other races and ethnicities to see he is not a civil rights activist, but a man who incites and plays on fear and violence and uses hateful rhetoric to further divide this country.
Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. was a true civil rights leader who we should all look up to. He exemplified the words “civil rights leader.” He saw wrong in Jim Crow and brought about change through nonviolence, sadly costing him his life. But during his life, he accomplished many things, such as the famous 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery. He was also instrumental in helping enact the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, and hastening the end of segregation in this country. Words from his speech during the march on our nation’s capital resonate to this day.
The same cannot be said about Sharpton. At a funeral Aug. 26, 1991, Sharpton complained about “the diamond merchants right here in Crown Heights,” a disparaging reference to the Brooklyn neighborhood’s Orthodox Jewish population. In the 1990s, Sharpton was accused by critics of incitement during the Crown Heights riots and in protests targeting a Jewish-owned store in Harlem that boiled over into a deadly arson and shooting attack.
Sharpton also involved himself in the Tawana Brawley case, in which she alleged she was raped in New York in 1987 by four white men. After hearing evidence, a grand jury concluded in October 1988 that Brawley had not been the victim of a forcible sexual assault and that she herself may have created the appearance of such an attack. The New York prosecutor whom Brawley had accused as one of her alleged assailants successfully sued Brawley and her three advisers for defamation. Sharpton, Alton Maddox and C. Vernon Mason said that officials all the way up to the state government were trying to cover up defendants in the case because they were white.
These are hateful and despicable words, contradicted by facts, from someone who plays upon race for his own personal gain.
Speaking at the funeral of Rosa Parks on Nov. 3, 2005, Sharpton said, “Jim Crow is old. That’s not who I’m mindful of today. The problem is that Jim Crow has sons. The one we’ve got to battle is James Crow Jr., Esq. He’s a little more educated. He’s a little slicker. He’s a little more polished, but the results are the same.”
Sharpton was calling the sons of parents who grew up under Jim Crow racist. To suggest that the sons of Jim Crow parents would be racist simply because their parents grew up in that era is once again race baiting and not the words of a civil rights leader. What are his claims based on? Nothing at all. These are very divisive words, to say the least, that Dr. King would have never used.
The list of Sharpton’s racially insensitive gaffes go on and on.
His most recent race-baiting comment came in reference to Kavanaugh when he said, “The nomination of Kavanaugh is a serious and immediate threat to civil rights.” Not only is this character assassination, but it’s fearmongering and targeting of a man of high integrity and character. His long pattern of using racially insensitive words are reprehensible and show him for what he isn’t, which is a civil rights leader.
Real civil rights leaders would deal with the very high rate of black-on-black killings in the streets of Chicago, where more than 650 homicides took place in 2017 and where 762 were killed in 2016. Civil rights leaders go to cities like this and meet with elected leaders to try to deal with these needless and tragic deaths amongst blacks. Civil rights leaders should address the very high number of black men who are fathering kids out of wedlock and not taking care of their responsibilities. Admittedly, these are some complex issues, which may be why Sharpton focuses on the low-hanging fruit.
Then-presidential candidate Barack Obama said it correctly of some black men in 2008 when he said, “Too many fathers are MIA, too many fathers are AWOL, missing from too many lives and too many homes. They have abandoned their responsibilities, acting like boys instead of men.”
Obama got it. Sharpton didn’t and still doesn’t.
No, Rev. Sharpton, you are no Dr. King.