Contact Craig R. Smith


It looked like a scene out of a low-budget movie. The leading man stood by his innocent young friend declaring how the system had unfairly treated a misunderstood Louisiana youth by actually suggesting he be held accountable for the crimes he committed. As always the first thing to die when the reverend arrives is the truth.

Just like in Durham, Al Sharpton, America's foremost racist, has now injected himself into the debate of the "Jena 6." Should six young people be held accountable for ganging up on a single student beating him until he ends up unconscious? In Al's world, the answer is no! Why? Simple; the criminal is black.

The issues of prior conduct or violation of probation with Mychal Bell mean nothing in Al's world. This is a chance for Al to get on TV, speak before Congress and once again fan the flames of racism where none exist. This is not about color. This is about violence. Violence that, regardless of one's skin color, should be condemned in the strongest of terms. But not with Al.

I am not going to argue the facts on this case here in my column. The facts speak for themselves. I am, however, going to ask a few simple questions of the defender of sweet little Mychal Bell. For if Al is truly behind this young man, black youth in America are in big trouble.

If I am hearing this right, Al is suggesting a noose hung months before this incident prompted Mychal Bell and his buddies to beat the tar out of another kid. Could it have had anything to do with the fact that Bell's father ran out on him and his mom at an early age? An event too common in black America, according the Bill Cosby. It couldn't be the thug culture promoted in the rap community. It must be something that "whitey" did. Right Al?

Let's get real. Anyone who would take a caustic symbol like a noose and use it in a way to incite anger and fear is a sick and hateful person. What Justin Barker and his buddies did was morally reprehensible, but not illegal. As ugly and shameful as the act may have been, it's protected under the First Amendment.

But when you squeeze a mustard bottle, mustard comes out. Why? The mustard was there all along. The anger and hatred that exist in Mychal Bell are well documented. This is not his first brush with the law. This kid has a history of violence. For Sharpton to attempt to use this kid's behavior to propel his personal fame is horrendous. Sharpton is a charlatan of the worst kind – using children to promote himself. Sounds like a typical liberal. It is always about the children.

If Al Sharpton really cared about the Mychal Bell's of the world, he would address the real problems in the black community. Issues like the lack of a father in the household. We can thank years of the socialist experiment called welfare for that phenomenon. Dependence on government for everything from housing to medical care has allowed fathers to abandon their children. In many cases, it not only allows it, it encourages it. Mom can get a lot more government assistance if a man is not in the home. Replace dad with government, and look at the result.

Maybe Sharpton should focus on the black-on-black crime statistics. Violence in the black community is an epidemic. It will not go away until black leaders teach and encourage personal responsibility and accountability. How about drug use amongst black youth, or out of wedlock childbirth? Maybe the spread of AIDS could get Al's attention.

Instead Al would like to blame everything that happens to underprivileged black youth on white America. This is sheer nonsense in the mind of any sane thinking person in America – black, white or otherwise.

If I were to use Al's logic, my father should have been a very angry, disenfranchised man who beat the odds by not ending up in prison. My father, God rest his soul, was near full-blooded American Indian. He had the white man steal the land that belonged to his ancestors. They killed, raped and pillaged his people to near extinction. Yet he never felt the white man owed him anything. In fact, my dad's determination to serve his country in World War II, and provide well for his family when he returned home, is an example of the right way to live one's life. Maybe Al should set the same example for black youth instead of capitalizing off their misfortunes.

The little bit of the hearings on Capitol Hill I listened to so outraged me, I had to turn the channel. To watch Sheila Jackson Lee lose it, and talk about her outrage, was too much like Cynthia McKinney talking about the administration's plot to execute 9/11. Again, this is all white America's doing. They cannot admit that Mychal Bell, while yet young, is on the path to becoming a full-time criminal. Al and Sheila want to give him a pass. Are they nuts?

I could only hope that black leaders like Oprah and Cosby speak up loud enough to drown out the voices of the racists like Sharpton, Lee and McKinney. It is time for all Americans to step up and hold each area of society accountable for bad behavior. To continue to excuse bad behavior in the name of an agenda is crazy. Next thing you know you will have NAMBLA blaming children for pedophilia. Wrong is wrong, no matter the color of your skin. We must stop using race as an excuse.

Slavery in America was despicable. The nation can never atone for the horrific treatment it allowed to occur to a people who were brought here against their will. I am not sure there will ever be a price America can pay to make that stain go away. But forgiveness is for those who have been wronged. As anyone who has experienced a hurt that languished in unforgiveness will tell you, they were freed when they chose to forgive.

Al, do you want your people to be free? Teach them to forgive. To take responsibility for their lives. To live life the way your Savior taught them to live. That is your job as a man of the cloth.

Until Sharpton and Jackson teach that message of forgiveness and reconciliation the people they claim to defend will be enslaved. Not with chains, but with an ideology that leads to death, despair and destruction. This could be a moment when Al could make a huge difference. Unfortunately, if he holds true to form, he will opt for the almighty buck.

Back To Commentary Archives   |   More Commentary @ Archives

© 2007 Craig R. Smith. All Rights Reserved.     Privacy Policy  |  Terms and Conditions  |  Links