*They may crusade for the same cause, but things look to be anything but united concerning young activists and the Rev. Al Sharpton.
Speaking recently at a gathering in the Harlem office of his National Action Network (NAN), the MSNBC “PoliticsNation” host expressed his feelings towards the hate he’s received from young protesters who have taken a stand against police brutality around the nation in response to the grand jury’s decisions to not indict those responsible for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner.
In his eyes, those criticizing him and other veteran activists are attempting to split the young activists from the older activists
“They are pimping you,” Sharpton said in his speech as he cited a police brutality march he led in Missouri in which he agreed to let young activists speak after demanding the time to do so.
“I’ve been meeting with them and talking with them since. And they were told, ‘Your problem is Al Sharpton and the other guys.’ Anytime you have movements, whether it’s in Ferguson, whether it’s in New York, whether it’s in Denver, wherever it is, when they got you more angry at your parents then they got you at the vote you’re supposed to be out there for, you’re being tricked and you’re trying to turn the community into tricks. And they are pimping you, to do the Willie Lynch in our community.”
“How you going to be more mad at folk that are marching for the same cause then you are against the folks y’all are marching against? Don’t you see a trick in there?” Sharpton continued.
Although he alluded to a responsible party for all the drama, CapitalNewYork.com noted that Sharpton didn’t name names during his speech. As he continued speaking, Sharpton emphasized the effect the disunity is having to the overall cause.
“And why they got y’all arguing about old or young in Ferguson, they running an election and y’all ain’t got a candidate in the race. Cause you’re busy arguing with your mommy and daddy when they re-electing a mayor, and re-electing a prosecutor. They got you arguing about who going to lead a march—the old or the young—when they cutting up the city budget. You can’t be that stupid! You more worried about who going to lead [National Action Network] than who going to be the governor with a multi-billion dollar budget that you got to pay state tax in. You can’t be that stupid.,” he said.
“It’s the disconnect that is the strategy to break the movement. And they play on your ego. ‘Oh, you young and hip, you’re full of fire. You’re the new face.’ All the stuff that they know will titillate your ears. That’s what a pimp says to a ho.”
“They tell them what they want to hear,” added Sharpton. “They don’t tell you ‘I’m going to turn you out.’ They tell you ‘You’re beautiful. Nobody appreciates you like I do. Look at you. You deserve all these material things. You’re not being in that London Fog coat. You should be in minks. You should have diamonds. You should have earnings [and] all you’ve got to do is come with me. We can have a brand new car together. We can buy a house in the suburbs together.’ And after they seduce you, they reduce you. And I’m not going to sit here and let them reduce our children.”
Sharpton’s comments come amid criticism he’s received from younger activists in Ferguson and New York City. As noted by CapitalNew.com, young protestors see the civil rights leader as “part of the status quo they’re protesting.”
“In New York, specifically in the majority of the work happening in the last year, Sharpton’s brand is largely seen as destructive at worst– irrelevant at best,” New Yorkers Against Bratton founder Josmar Trujillo, a young activist, wrote in a statement to Capital New York after Sharpton’s speech.
“This city voted in a self described ‘progressive’ mayor and city council, only to have Rudy Giuliani‘s police commissioner, Bratton, return to power. And who opened their doors to welcome him back? Al Sharpton and NAN.”
“As we move ahead here in New York, inspired by Ferguson youth, we’re speaking truth to power. Sharpton, and others like him, are in fact much too cozy with power to fill that role,” Trujillo added as he maintained that Sharpton hasn’t helped young activist push for police reforms in New York City. For the former informant to paternalistically admonish younger, more dynamic leaders by comparing them to ‘hoes’ is just another self-serving attempt to squash dissent as he wrestles for control of a movement that’s leaving him behind.”