Watching Al Sharpton with Jon Stewart this week was a wrenching experience. It would take a heart of stone not to be moved by the Reverend’s distress that he might be related to Sen. Strom Thurmond, a symbol of American racism.
Rev. Sharpton’s demand for DNA testing may help clear this all up, but his own history may make him wary about the reliability of medical testing.
In the 1987 case that brought him to prominence, his support of Tawana Brawley’s claim of rape by six white men, including law officers, was undercut by forensic testimony leading to a grand jury verdict that it did not occur and, a decade later, another jury’s award against Rev. Sharpton of $65,000 to one of the accused men.
This devout man may have to live with the anguish of uncertainty about his own origins, but surely he will be comforted by the sympathy of so many Americans who have shared this experience with him on every TV newscast, including the one about fake news.