Daniel Greenfield, a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the Freedom Center, is a New York writer focusing on radical Islam.
Over twenty years ago, five young Latino women were among the seven victims of a fire. They were in their late teens and early twenties. They were mothers and daughters. One had two young boys at home. She might have been watching them get married today. Another helped support her mother.
The fire was set by an armed racist gunman who told blacks to leave and began shooting. It was much like the Charleston church massacre except that the man whose racist rhetoric had helped set it off went on to work for NBC. His products are sold on Amazon and eBay. He’s a regular at the White House.
Sharpton had vowed, “We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business”. And he and his National Action Network were true to their word.
Last year, Obama spoke at the National Action Network. But back then, Sharpton’s lieutenant, Morris Powell, headed the Buy Black Committee with the National Action Network and chanted, “Don’t give the Jew a dime” outside Freddy’s Fashion Mart. Other protesters shouted, “Burn, Cracker, burn.”
Powell had escaped in the seventies from a mental hospital after he had attacked a police officer with a lead pipe while shouting, “I am going to kill you, pig.” In the eighties he had been on trial for breaking a Korean woman’s head during another protest.
Despite that, New York’s future first black governor, David Paterson, defended him, saying, “Morris Powell has good intentions and is truly concerned about black people. But he can be too controversial.”
And Powell defended the killer as “A Black Man who struggled for his people to be free.”
The trail of flames runs to the first black president and the first black governor. The smoke from that fire carries with it the stench of black politicians defending black racists who defend black killers.
But as Obama said of his own racist mentor, Jeremiah Wright, “I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community.”
And that’s the problem.
Southern whites are expected to disown the Confederate flag and Nathan Bedford Forrest, but Obama isn’t expected to disown Sharpton. It took the risk of losing an election to finally get Obama to distance himself from Wright. He has yet to apologize for his participation in Farrakhan’s Million Man March.
But if Obama can’t be expected to disown the black racists he loves, because, as he put it in his Wright speech, they are “a part of me”, why should white Southerners be expected to disown their heritage?
Is a black man who murders Latino women in a store better than a white man who shoots black churchgoers? Are the lives of Puerto Rican girls struggling for a breath while a Harlem store burns around them worth less than that of the black people shot to death by Dylann Storm Roof?
Is Al Sharpton’s racism somehow cleaner and classier than that of the KKK? Are “White interloper”, “Don’t give the Jew a dime” and “Burn, Cracker, burn” less evil than Roof’s manifesto?
So far Donald Trump hasn’t led racist mobs through Latino neighborhoods or even done anything as modestly Sharptonesque as shout racist slurs. Maybe he needs to Sharpton up to work with NBC?
But there’s one rule for white vulgarians and another for black vulgarians. Especially when they have an open door to the White House which they can use to help expand Comcast’s growing media empire.
Obama’s double standard on racism has gone national.
Governor Haley called for the Confederate flag to come down, but hugged Sharpton. Amazon and eBay aren’t pulling any of Sharpton’s merchandise. For that matter you can also find Farrakhan’s racist texts on Amazon, including violently anti-Semitic material. You can even find an iPhone case on Amazon titled, “Farrakhan To Kanye West Don't Bow To Jewish Pressure”. No Confederate flags though.
But while white racists are perpetrators, black racists are victims. Obama defended Wright as a victim of “discrimination” and “humiliation”. It’s only because white people are “segregated” from black people that they are “surprised to hear that anger in some of Reverend Wright's sermons”, he suggested.
Black racism is the fault of white people. And that’s a common view of racists. Racists don’t believe that they hate unjustly. Whether they are Dylann Storm Roof or Morris Powell, David Duke or Al Sharpton, they believe that their hated is justified. Barack Obama often appears to believe the same thing.
Obama asked us to understand Wright’s anger. If pushed to the wall, he might ask us to understand Sharpton’s anger. But he won’t ask us to understand the anger of a Klansman. The only racism that Obama asks us to understand is the kind that he has some sympathy for.
We could and should have an honest conversation about racism, but that would have little in common with the kind of national conversations on race that Obama prefers in which he asks us to feel guilty for white racism and empathize with black racism. And that institutional coddling of black racism by the first black president or the first black governor is what leads to massacres like Freddy’s Fashion Mart.
Al Sharpton has a show on MSNBC. Al Sharpton spoke at the Democratic National Convention. Al Sharpton is a frequent visitor to the White House. There is no white racist leader with a similar track record. NBC would never give David Duke his own show. George W. Bush did not invite Duke to the White House or allow him speak at the Republican National Convention.
America no longer has a problem with white racism. It has a problem with black racism. While white racism is more marginalized than ever, black racism has become more mainstream than ever before.
We incessantly talk about white racism, but we hardly ever speak about black racism. Liberals often even deny its existence, asserting that only racism with institutional backing can be considered real racism. But Sharpton’s career is proof of the institutional support from the government and major corporations for black racism.
When Obama hugs Sharpton or appears at the National Action Network, he reaches beyond to Morris Powell and the Freddy’s massacre and the double standard that makes black racists into powerbrokers. When NBC cuts ties with Trump, but pays Sharpton, it quietly endorses his racism and anti-Semitism.
If we are to ever have a united nation, we will have to address the institutional support for black racism from NBC to Amazon to the White House.
And there will be no progress until black leaders stop making excuses and start disowning black racists.