Sharpton, Duncan & the New Black Panthers

The Rev. Al Sharpton seemed to indicate the other day that the “Restoring Honor” rally staged by radio/TV personality Glenn Beck on 28 August and drawing some 300,000 to 500,000 people to Washington violated a day he considers sacrosanct (inviolable) by virtue of the rally headed by Dr. Martin Luther King (I have a dream) on that day in 1963. In other words, he puts the “I Have a Dream” day on a par with Christmas.

Sharpton had his own rally on the 28th in Washington, with a number of speakers who managed to come up with the same line that grew out of the civil-rights era regarding the entitlements, except that the new line insists that the government owes African Americans much more than it has GIVEN them. Sharpton is the guy who gave us the “Tawana Brawley Hoax” back in the day, one of his objectives being the ruination of the career of a prosecutor, who later filed suit culminating in Sharpton and other “advisers” being ordered by the court to pay prosecutor Pagones $345,000, while Brawley had to pay $185,000. Meanwhile, Brawley changed her name to Maryam Muhammad. Interesting, considering Rev. Sharpton’s Christian background.

A speaker in the Sharpton rally was Malik Zulu Shabazz, head honcho of the New Black Panther Party, which is not new at all and not much different from the old Black Panther Party of the 1960s, at least in its rhetoric. In that famous performance at a polling place in Philadelphia in 2008, a member of the NBPP, Philadelphia leader Shamir Shabazz, exploded his hate for the “crackers” (white folk) and called for the murder not only of them but of their babies, too…those “cracker-babies.” Has the term “honky” gone out of style?

In the Sharpton rally, Malik Zulu Shabazz (born Paris Lewis in Los Angeles) came up with a new wrinkle, i.e., that the “black jury” has found “white America” guilty of injustice and racism and called for all black young people, including the black gang-bangers, to unite against the “common enemy.” Who is the “common enemy?” Shabazz/Lewis elaborated, speaking of a “black dream that when we see caskets rolling in the black community…that we will see caskets and funerals in the community of our enemy as well.” Who is the enemy?

This is the kind of hateful rhetoric that incites people to riot. The “common enemy” referenced by the NBPP leader is obviously the white folk, though neither Shabazz/Lewis nor Sharpton wisely seemed to get around to articulating that fact. Suppose Glenn Beck had said something like that and referenced either directly or inferentially that the “common enemy” is the black folk. He would have been hounded into exile by even – especially – the white population.

Perhaps the strangest aspect of the Sharpton rally had to do with the memo put out by Education Secretary Arne Duncan: “staff are invited to join Secretary Arne Duncan, the Reverend Al Sharpton, and other leaders on Saturday, Aug. 28, for the 'Reclaim the Dream' rally and march, … ." Duncan was the head honcho of the Chicago Public School system until tapped by Obama to make Washington his new home. There are about 4,000 federal employees answering to Duncan but, paying no attention to this blatant politicizing of the Department of Education, they didn’t show up.

Besides making a dumb actual threat, considering his power to hire and fire or just harass, Duncan may be so out of touch with reality that he doesn’t realize that while the national average per pupil spending by state in 2006-07 was $9,557, the figure for D.C., his local district, was $16,540, or an increase over the state average of 73%. Blacks make up 54.4% of the D.C. population, thus Duncan was beating a dead horse if he had D.C. in mind regarding some sort of education-neglect for African Americans, not to mention that the D.C system is among the worst in the nation.

Nor is there any reason to believe that blacks are short-changed anywhere else. In the name of education-equity, school systems throughout the nation have been virtually irretrievably damaged by cockamamie ideas/actions – forced busing, for instance, now finally in disfavor – and the U.S. consequently trails many industrialized nations, especially in math and science.

The salient point not made by Duncan was that, beginning roughly with the entitlement laws of the 1960s, the black family unit has crumbled, the men seeming not to care for heading households as they did before 1960 (75%), and black women okay with bearing illegitimate offspring (70% of all black babies currently), perhaps with a view toward the welfare check. The experts on all sides (okay…the National Education Association [teachers union] probably excluded) agree that the lack of family support dooms children to failure in school.

So…was Duncan in the wrong camp? Should he have been in the “Restoring Honor” rally, where the main interests were preserving the family as a unit and a return to faith in God as the support in making that happen? Actually, he should have kept his nose out of the whole business, but with this administration class-distinction and consequent victimization mean everything. Disgusting!