When I hear a story about an African-American teenaged boy being shot to death by a self-appointed neighborhood watch captain I want to hear the voices of other young black boys who are protesting. I want to see them in podiums and at press conferences expressing their pain, rage, and disbelief at George Zimmerman not being arrested. I want to hear the voices of the young ladies who lost a classmate and a friend to senseless gun violence. I want to see the next generation who have chosen to wear hoodies in solidarity with their fallen peer representing on television. I do not want to see Al Sharpton in a suit. I don’t want to hear his voice either.
When I see Al Sharpton fly all over the country and subsequently water down every potential movement involving black people it makes me a bit nauseous. I would love to hear a kid from the projects of Miami with thick dreads and a southern accent talk about how Trayvon Martin’s death is affecting his everyday life but instead I get another typical Al Sharpton sermon. It reminds me of how an American can travel to Seattle, New York, Washington DC, and Atlanta only to eat the same Big Mac and Coke from McDonald’s for dinner. The rhetoric of the black liberation movement has become nationalized, highly profitable (Sharpton does not work for free), and completely harmless to the establishment.
The era of Al Sharpton (and Jesse Jackson for that matter) will have to come to an end in order for true progress to be made. It’s time to let the youth who are hurting so badly speak for themselves.