Sharpton’s Shameless Selectiveness

It will come as no surprise to NewsReal’s regular readers to hear that the Reverend Al Sharpton, race-hustler extraordinaire, is a hypocrite when it comes to race-related remarks uttered by liberals and conservatives, but the occasional reminder is handy—especially when the double-standard is as blatantly obvious as it was on last night’s Hannity.”

(Part 2 here. Come for the insufferable race-baiter, stay for Ann Coulter.)

The topic was Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid’s latest buffoonery over President Barack Obama’s skin color, which Sharpton says was an unfortunate word choice, but nothing that should jeopardize his leadership. Sharpton tried to ward off the hypocrisy charge by pointing out that he was offended by the “Negro dialect” half of the sentence, if not the “light-skinned” part.

Well, fine, but whenever something’s offended you in the past, Reverend, you’ve never been content with a rhetorical wrist-slap.  One of Reid’s predecessors, Republican Trent Lott, had to resign for “supporting segregation” (spoiler alert: no he didn’t).  Even private citizens in private institutions, who don’t answer to the public at all, much less Al Sharpton, had to pay the piper, whether it was Don Imus (for admittedly crass remarks) or Rush Limbaugh (another racist who isn’t actually racist).

Sharpton also argued that the comments don’t make Reid a racist.  That’s all well and good, too—others serious observers have come to the same conclusion—but again, most of Sharpton’s own victims haven’t been true racists, either.  Indeed, Sharpton’s specialty is screaming racism even when he knows better.

What’s the difference?  There is none, aside from the fact that one party advances Sharpton’s policy preferences, and the other doesn’t.  Sharpton said he applied the same standard to Vice President Joe Biden’s remarks about what a “clean” and “articulate” black man Obama is, but his criticism stopped well short of any sort of resignation call.  As for Sen. Robert Byrd (D-KKK), Sharpton claimed not to recall Byrd’s use of the “n-word” on national television.  A curious omission from a prominent political observer obsessed with all things race-related, no?

Ironically, Sharpton himself offered the following succinct bit of wisdom:

Well, first of all, what’s the standard?  If you’re saying that if somebody says something racial is racist, I don’t agree with that.

That’s absolutely right: there’s nothing racist about simply mentioning a racial component to a contemporary issue.  It’s a pity Al Sharpton doesn’t really mean it.


Hailing from Fond du Lac, Wisconsin, Calvin Freiburger is a political science major at Hillsdale College.  He also blogs at the Hillsdale Forum and his personal website, Calvin Freiburger Online.


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