Liberal black leaders need new targets for their outrage

October 23, 2002|By GREGORY KANE

SO IN THE blink of an eye, the mouths of black America's liberal leadership have clamped shut tighter than the doors on Mumia Abu-Jamal's cell on death row.

For a while there, we couldn't seem to shut them up. We had the Revvums Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton getting offended and criticizing jokes disparaging Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks in the movie Barbershop. Then we had Harry Belafonte -- a left-wing activist as well as a singer and actor -- dismissing Secretary of State Colin Powell as President Bush's house slave.

Belafonte went even further when he appeared on CNN's Larry King Live. Claiming he wanted to "clarify" his statement, Belafonte showed that indeed the air must be getting pretty thin on the left side of the political spectrum. He said there are still plantations in America where "oppression" occurs. He mentioned poor black neighborhoods in Cincinnati and Los Angeles to bolster his point.

There is, indeed, oppression going on in such places, but Belafonte is confused about who is oppressing whom. Senior citizens and just plain hard-working ones in such communities are virtual prisoners in their homes, encircled by the drug dealers in front of their doors. If the elderly and law-abiding in these neighborhoods demand the miscreants leave, then they face getting their tires slashed or having a brick hurled through the window.

Or a Molotov cocktail, perhaps.

It happened here in Baltimore last week. Don't expect condemnation of the act from Belafonte. The resulting fire killed Angela Dawson and her five children. It left her husband, Carnell Dawson, in critical condition. Both were targeted for fingering a drug dealer and telling him to keep his slinging away from their home.

Jackson and Sharpton won't weigh in on this one, either. The plight of law-abiding black citizens victimized by the criminal element seldom registers so much as a blip on their radar screens. From liberal and leftist national black leaders, there will be an eerie silence on this one.

Thus it was on Sept. 29, when a lynching occurred on one of those plantations with oppressive conditions that Belafonte feels are extant in the land.

The victim was black, but the lynchers weren't white. Had they been, the uproar from black America would have been deafening. Nor did Charles Young Jr. die after a police shooting of the type which touched off rioting on the Cincinnati plantation a few years ago.

No, the lynchers of Young were all black, ranging in age from 10 to 32 years old. Most of the mob of 15 that attacked Young were juveniles. The incident occurred at 10:30 on a Sunday night, meaning that, if effective parenting were going on at all, the 10-, 11-, 13- and 14-year-olds would have and should have been in their homes, preparing for school Monday.

But you can't say that in America these days. That's "blaming the victim." Or, using Belafonte's bizarre analogy, it's blaming the field slaves still suffering oppression on the plantation.

It's much easier to criticize movie producers, directors, writers and actors. It's much better, psychologically speaking, to bash Bush and Powell. It's just no fun suggesting that the black parents of those hoodlums act like parents.

Residents of that Milwaukee neighborhood spoke out in several news stories. One man said the same gang of thugs attacked him and some white friends two years ago. Another said the parents of those boys let them run in the streets at all hours of the night.

It might occur to astute observers that Powell is not the daddy of any of those boys in that Milwaukee mob. Nor is Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, or any other black conservative who arouses the dudgeon of Afro-America's depressingly liberal leadership. If every black conservative in America disappeared tomorrow, absolutely nothing would change for the better in communities like that one in Milwaukee.

That's why blacks on the liberal/left side of the political spectrum need to find new targets for their ire. They can start by unzipping their lips and going to Milwaukee to confront the parents of the accused, to ask them just what kind of parents they are and to demand where they were the night of Sept. 29.

Then they can head here to Baltimore, hit those drug corners and finish the job Angela and Carnell Dawson so courageously started.

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