It has been said that even a stopped clock is right twice a day. Using that standard, a stopped clock is right far more often than the Reverend Al Sharpton. But every once in a while, the Rev Sharpton does get something right. As critical as your editor has been of Mr Shapton, it is only fitting that I take note when he gets something right.
By Kaitlyn Schallhorn /// August 25, 2013
As thousands gathered on the National Mall to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, MSNBC host Al Sharpton had a message for the young people — pull up your pants and respect the women.
The “Realize the Dream” rally, hosted by the Reverend’s not-for-profit organization National Action Network, was more about decrying gun rights and the Supreme Court’s Voting Rights Act decision than actually remembering the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. But Sharpton took the time during his lengthy remarks to admonish the youth of America, namely young African-American men.
“We need to teach our young folk, I don’t care how much money they give you, you don’t disrespect your women,” Sharpton said. “No matter what they promise you, make it clear that you know that Rosa Parks wasn’t no ho and Fannie Lou Hamer wasn’t no b**ch.”
Sharpton told the crowd that it was important to give young people dreams again, just as King dared to dream of a better America in the face of those who wanted him dead. But in order to give young people dreams, the country needs to better fund the public school system and make it a place for young people from diverse backgrounds to thrive.
“You wonder why they’re walking around with their pants down,” he said. “Because that’s what you wear in jail. And if you think that’s where you’re headed, you might as well get dressed before you get there. We need to give them dreams again, not to worry about sagging pants, but sagging morality. If we told them who they could be and what they could do they would pull up their pants and go to work.”
A bit more at the link.
This isn’t the first effort along these lines from the black leadership. In 1995, Louis Farrakhan organized the so-called Million Man March. It was often mocked, and didn’t live up to its own numbers projection, but Mr Farrakhan was on he right track in calling for solidarity among black men in doing the right thing, in treating women and children properly and taking personal responsibility for their actions. From Wikipedia:
Although the march won support and participation from a number of prominent African American leaders, its legacy is plagued by controversy over several issues. The leader of the march, Louis Farrakhan, is a highly contested figure whose biting commentary on race in America has led some to wonder whether the message of the march can successfully be disentangled from the controversial messenger. Two years after the march, the Million Woman March was held in response to fears that the Million Man March had focused on black men to the exclusion of black women. Finally, within the first 24 hours following the March a conflict between March organizers and Park Service officials erupted over crowd size estimates. The National Park Service issued an estimate of about 400,000 attendees, a number significantly lower than March organizers had hoped for. After a heated exchange between leaders of the march and Park Service, ABC-TV funded researchers at Boston University estimated the crowd size to be 837,000, plus or minus 20%.
I thought that the protests over this being a march for men, excluding women’s issues, was kind of silly; the whole purpose of the march — before it got sidetracked with extraneous marginal issues — was about black men actually behaving like men, adult men, responsible men, men doing the right thing.
I have said before that I didn’t have very high hopes for Barack Hussein Obama’s presidency, because his policies were so bad, but I did think that he might inspire other black Americans to follow his example, to work hard in school, get good grades, and try to make something of yourself. Thus far, there isn’t a lot of evidence that his presidency has had this kind of effect in any significant numbers, but there’s still a chance.
The black community in the United States is simply behind, in terms of education and economic success, and it is the former which is responsible for the latter. White Americans can say what is needed within the black community to help itself, but what needs to be done can only be done in the black community, by American blacks. The Reverend Sharpton is, at least for now, on the right track.