Doing the Harlem Shuffle: Al Sharpton’s Traveling Minstrel Show

Published 19 years ago -  - 19y ago 104

To say that the Reverend Al Sharpton is a polarizing figure is an understatement akin to saying Genghis Khan had an anger management problem.

Sharpton is in the headlines of the usual suspect newspapers and network television shows these days because he is contemplating a run for the Democrat presidential nomination, and in many ways has a lot to offer the party because he represents so many of their current ideological idiosyncrasies.

As usual the Democrats are awash in Reverends – out and about are the Reverend Sharpton, the Reverend Jackson, the Reverend Floyd Flake, the Reverend Walter Fauntroy, the Reverend Barry Hargroves, the Reverend A. Knighton Stanley, the Reverend Calvin O. Butts, the Reverend Gardner C. Taylor, the Reverend Del Shields and on and on and on.

Do democrats have a messiah complex?

Possibly, but I digress.

Al Sharpton was preachin’ and screechin’ by the time he was 4 and became a fully accredited Pentecostal minister at the ripe old age of 13.

In 1969 another Reverend, of the Jesse variety, gave the young preacher his first taste of public life and named the 14 year old Sharpton to the directorship of Jackson’s “Operation Breadbasket” which confidantes described as consisting of one ramshackle room, a telephone and a rotating cast of flunkies employed to run Sharpton’s errands.

For a mere high school graduate he has gone a long way on cunning and guile.

Sharpton’s career moves are so bizarre that they test credulity – incarnations as fight promoter, music industry hipster and even claims of having been an FBI informant for 5 years, tattling supposedly on Don King’s alleged crime affiliations.

It was under the unblinking eye of the media that Sharpton really found his calling, they always looking for larger than life and quotable cartoon characters.

It’s hard to believe that Reverend Al would willingly perform the Harlem Shuffle in what is morally equivalent to a minstrel show, but perform he does.

Unfortunately, the act isn’t very funny and is necessarily rated X for violence and bigotry.

Lets examine a few key events in his life and see if you don’t agree.

Bernard Goetz:

In 1985 Sharpton made a plunge into the not so subtle art of race baiting at the civil trial of Bernard Goetz, the so-called New York vigilante.

Goetz shot 4 thugs in self-defense, on December 22, 1984, as they attempted to rob him on a Manhattan subway train, at the point of a finely honed screwdriver.

Sharpton, employing a technique that would become a mainstay throughout his career, gained major media face time by seizing an opportunity rife with racial tension. He insinuated himself into and exacerbated the charged atmosphere, appearing during and after the trial in solidarity with the 4 hoods shot by Goetz.

Goetz was tried in criminal court and received only an 8 month sentence on a minor weapons violation – a mere slap on the wrist in New York, a city where because of liberal Democrat legislation, only criminals are afforded the right of concealed carry.

During the civil phase of his legal entanglements, Goetz was poorly represented; his attorneys only calling two witnesses and inexplicably allowing him to testify in his own behalf.

At the end of the penalty phase of the trial the most seriously injured perpetrator, Darrell Cabey – who was paralyzed with brain damage resulting from Goetz’ actions – received an unbelievable $43 million civil judgment against him.

Sharpton, ever eager to ratchet emotions even higher, was quoted as saying that Goetz should have received the death penalty for defending himself.

During the trial, in an effort to show the remorselessness of the attackers, especially Cabey, newspaper columnist Jimmy Breslin testified for the defense about an interview he had with Cabey almost a year after the shooting.

Breslin said Cabey told him that they intended to rob Goetz because ”he looked like easy bait.”

So, at least from Sharpton’s perspective, victims must forever remain “bait” on the hook of the racial hatred of street criminals.

Crown Heights:

In 1991, an unfortunate traffic accident took place during a motorcade in the heavily Jewish community of Crown Heights. A car driven by an Hassidic Jew, jumped a curb, tragically killing a young Black male.

Immediately Al Sharpton, ever Johnny on the spot, inserted himself into the situation and the ever present media spotlight.

He organized rallies with distinctly anti-Semitic overtones and molded this rag-tag racist assembly into a mini-army of storm troopers.

On four successive nights of what only can be called an American Krystal Nacht, the Reverend led a mob of hundreds of bottle throwing, intoxicated rioters through the formerly quiet Jewish neighborhood.

Sharpton, intentionally fanned the fires of anti-Jewish racial hatred often just burbling below the surface in some Black communities. He egged the crowd on, referring to the Jews with the code words “diamond merchants” while the mob responding with “kill the Jews”

At the end of this display of brotherhood about 15 members of the Sharpton’s “brigade” broke off, bent on further mayhem; they spotted Yankel Rosenbaum a young rabbinical student from Australia – his ethnicity revealed by his traditional Hassidic garb – yelling “there’s a Jew” and “get the Jew” they cornered him, beating and stabbing him to death on the spot.

Sharpton remains unrepentant.

Fredi’s Fashion Mart Massacre:

In 1995 Reverend Sharpton’s National Action Network led two months of on-going protest outside the 125th Street, Harlem business known as Fredi’s Fashion Mart, which was owned by a Sephardic Jew, Fredi Harari.Seething ethnic rage and hate against “white interlopers” fueled the protest. Sharpton often joined the crowds himself seemingly content to be surrounded by terrorists taunting such odious chants as “bloodsucking Jews” “crackers” and “Jew bastards.”

He also fomented the ethnic strife on Black operated radio stations like WLIB.

“I’m gonna go down there, and do what is necessary to let them know that we are not turnin’ 125th Street back over to outsiders as it was done in the early part of this century.This is a sin and a shame and a disgrace, and we should not under any circumstances sit by and allow this to happen without a major reaction.” Sharpton – September 9, 1995 WLIB.

Sharpton also frequently appeared with a host of armchair anti-Semites who waxed eloquently:

“And I serving notice today on a Jewish community, that if you don’t stop accusing Reverend Al Sharpton, Minister Louis Farrakhan, Jesse Jackson, Gary Byrd, Reverend Del Shields and Donna Wilson of being anti-Semitic, we will marshal six million black men and women and boycott every Jewish owned business throughout the United States.we will boycott you and nobody loves money any more than the Jewish people.” Norman “Grandad” Reide – October 21, 1995 WLIB

Again the words are very carefully chosen, the number six million having particular power with anyone aware of the Holocaust.

As in the Crown Heights Krystal Nacht, this experiment in ethnic intolerance ended badly, as one of Sharpton’s protesters, apparently overcome with the sprit of retribution so calculatingly stoked by Sharpton, entered the Fashion Mart shooting and killing at least 3 shoppers and finally burning to death an additional 5 as the establishment was torched to the ground on December 9, 1995.

Tawana Brawley:

On Saturday, November 28, 1987, Tawana Brawley, a fifteen year old young woman was found in Dutchess County, New York incoherent and covered in dog excrement and with racist slogans and epithets written on her body with a charcoal like substance.

She told a wild story about having been gang raped by a group of white police officers, the sheer ugliness of the charge drew Al Sharpton, Alton Maddox, and C. Vernon Mason as advisors like a dead carcass draws buzzards.

Alton Maddox set the tone of racial division, apparently arguing for apartheid:

“Any Negro that advise you to register to vote ain’t nothing but a traitor.You gotta first have a political education and second a political institution. Anybody that advise you in the absence of establishing both of them, ain’t nothing but a buck licking Uncle Tom for crackers!…You can’t go to public schools unless you pledge allegiance to your enemy. Before any Black child goes to school they should pledge allegiance to their (sic) Afrikan roots.”

For his part, Sharpton carried on the prosecution of “white” society through innuendo and friendly press connections. That so much was made of a case with so little evidence speaks volumes about the irresponsibility of the press since even the alleged victim, Tawana, refused to testify in the judicial proceedings.

The official Grand Jury conclusion:

“Based upon all of the evidence that has been presented to the Grand Jury, we conclude that Tawana Brawley was not the victim of a forcible sexual assault by multiple assailants over a four-day period. There is no evidence that any sexual assault occurred. Tawana Brawley had significant contact with Apartment l9A Carnaby Drive at some time during her four-day disappearance. All of the items and instrumentalities necessary to account for the state of her appearance on Saturday, November 28, were present inside of or in the immediate vicinity of Apartment l9A. The Grand Jury concludes that Tawana Brawley was present in or near Apt. 19A when put into the condition in which she was discovered. The Grand Jury further concludes there is nothing in regard to Tawana Brawley’s appearance on November 28 that is inconsistent with this condition having been self-inflicted.”

Steven Pagones:

Not content to let the racial animus or photo opportunities die down, Sharpton made a fatal tactical decision.

Taking every opportunity to continue to claim that Brawley was indeed raped by white policemen he now crossed the line to the land of lunacy. He charged that the Duchess County Assistant District Attorney, Steve Pagones, had actually participated in Tawana’s fanciful rape.

“We stated openly that Steven Pagones, the assistant district attorney, did it. His lawyers say he may or may not sue us. If we’re lying, sue us, so we can go into court with you and prove you did it. I’ll use your show to dare them to sue us, sue us right now. We are saying Steven Pagones did it. Now if he didn’t do it, why isn’t he suing us?”

And sue he did, Pagones showing backbone not in evidence anywhere in the mainstream media, counterattacked with a multi-hundred million defamation suit against Sharpton, Maddox and Mason.

Although Sharpton, wisely tried to distance himself from both his own statements as well as those of his co-conspirators, all three were unapologetic to the end.

Co-defendant Mason even alleged, during his closing argument to the jury, that he believed Pagones murdered Harry Crist Jr., a police officer originally accused of raping Brawley.

Pagones’ attorney, William Stanton, summed it up comparing the three erstwhile “civil rights activists” to Nazi propagandists.

“They don’t care who they stepped on and who they stepped over. They destroyed lives for their own self-advancement. That’s the reason they started this case.”

The Grand Jury’s decision was loud and unequivocal:

“We the Grand Jury of the Supreme Court, State of New York County of Dutchess Impaneled on February 29, 1988 having conducted an investigation, and based upon the preponderance of the credible and legally admissible evidence, conclude that the unsworn public allegations against Dutchess County Assistant District Attorney Steven Pagones are false, have no basis in fact and that he committed no misconduct, non-feasance or neglect in office.”

In the skewed world of racialized jurisprudence, he was only awarded $345,000 in damages, a pittance for the incredible character assassination he had to endure and in sharp contrast to the $43 million that Bernard Goetz was forced to pay for the right to defend himself against criminals like Darrell Cabey.

Central Park Rapists:

April 19, 1989 a gang comprised of young Hispanics and Blacks attacked, beat, raped and left for dead a young white female Central Park jogger. The headlines screamed the hideous nature of the crime for weeks across the nation.

Sharpton, once again displaying his callous, incredibly vindictive nature, dragged the thoroughly discredited Tawana Brawley to the trial of six of the young punks who were charged with raping and nearly killing the Central Park jogger.

In a supreme act of hate Sharpton actually had Brawley shake hands in solidarity with the criminal defendants – who would a few days later be convicted – while at the same time the victim still lay comatose in a New York City hospital.

Sharpton stated that his motivation was to show:

“…how the criminal justice system responds differently for a white victim than it does for a black victim.”

What was actually revealed is too obvious to bother to state.

Throughout Sharpton’s career he has consistently flirted with the most extreme members of that most extreme of Black hate groups, the Nation Of Islam.

In 1993 Sharpton introduced that group’s spiritual leader, Louis Farrakhan, at a New York Rally – incredulously held at the Jacob Javitz Convention Center.

“We will stand together. Not in some private midnight meeting . but in the daylight.Don’t ask who don’t like it; we love it! Don’t ask who’s mad, we’re glad!”

Later, displaying his gift for trumping even himself, Sharpton – alone among New York’s radicalized Black leaders – served as virtual master of ceremonies at a Harlem rally held for Khallid Abdul Muhammad a man who threatened to kill Bill Perkins, a Black City Council member of Harlem simply because Perkins refused to endorse the Million Man March.

Muhammad is so far outside the boundaries of civilized society that he was expelled from the Nation of Islam.

Unfortunately Reverend Sharpton’s congregation does not reside within a church; it exists wherever thugs, hoodlums and racists gather to assault the basic principles of civility and the rule of law.

His long record is one of preaching hate and social division, his sermon indistinguishable from that preached 70 years previously by Adolph Hitler.

Sharpton’s actions have resulted directly in the deaths of at least 9 individuals, murdered on his altar of greed and self-promotion.

Unless he is thoroughly rejected by the Democrat Party, a possibility which seems unlikely, he will continue to ride and stoke the wave of racial hatred that for reasons peculiar to the psychological makeup of the party’s leadership, they seem desirous to retain.

As a prologue please consider the fact that for the record, Sharpton has run twice for the U.S. Senate in New York, gathering, respectively, 14 and then 26 percent of the Democrat primary vote.

This translates into hundreds of thousands of votes by people who are so removed from the mainstream and blinded by hate that they would probably be comfortable wearing the twisted cross or the red star as their identifying emblem.

That the Democrat Party deems them worthy of being courted speaks more eloquently about their motives than any platitudes conceivably uttered by apologists like Tom Daschle.


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