Monday, April 09, 2007

Imus and Sharpton: Walking on Eggshells

To borrow Lloyd Bentsen’s remark to Dan Quayle during the 1988 Vice-Presidential debate, this is something I’ve been wanting to say to the Rev. Al Sharpton for a long time: “I knew Martin Luther King and, Reverend, you’re no Martin Luther King.”

Don Imus can be a jerk, and his recent remark about the Rutgers basketball team was inexcusable. He has rightly been excoriated, humbled and forced to apologize.

But to have him groveling today on Sharpton’s radio show is too much to bear. If Imus is a racist, where does that leave the Rev. Al, whose fame rests on stirring up racial hatred for a decade over false accusations of rape by a teen-ager that resulted in (1) a young white prosecutor being cleared by a grand jury and (2) awards of damages against Sharpton in a defamation suit ten years later?

It would be walking on eggshells to get into a detailed discussion of pots and kettles, but there is a larger issue here. When Presidential candidate Joe Biden got into trouble for calling Barack Obama “clean,” he was undoubtedly thinking of demagogues like Sharpton.

African Americans have come too far to be victimized by outdated “leaders” stirring up outrage by focusing on Imus when there is serious work to be done in dealing with racial discrimination in the real world.

Obama is the future. Imus and Sharpton are people who make a living out of running their mouths to get attention.

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