Thursday, April 19, 2007

Squeaky Wheels

Eugene Kane directs us to an article by Rochelle Riley in the Detroit Free Press where she says...

Please stop calling Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson every time you want to know
how we feel. They do not speak for all of us, and we're tired of you asking them
to try.

Kane echoes these sentiments and, to an extent, I have to agree. But I wonder how long the likes of Sharpton and Jackson will put up with being ignored as the "black voices" in America. Here are two men who have made a lifetime of speaking for all of black America in spite of their never being elected to any such position of representation (to the best of my knowledge). In fact, it's their loud voices that make them so appealing to the media, black or white. If they're suddenly pushed aside by the media, I highly doubt they would simply fade away into the woodwork. Their voices would only get louder, the antics more preposterous, and the media would be hard-pressed to ignore a good soundbite or any resulting firestorm.

Much as in the case of violent acts committed or threats issued by radical Muslims where few other Muslims will stand up and condemn it, rarely do we hear passionate voices from the part of black America that disagrees with Sharpton and Jackson. This is why I only agree with this to an extent. While there's no denying the media is complicit in portraying these two as the voice of black Americans, there is also a responsibility among black Americans to let the rest of the nation know that they are not the only voices. Then, and only then, will Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson be relegated to where they belong, wherever that may be.


At 9:33 AM, May 03, 2007, Blogger Crawford's Take said...

In a mood today...

I have my issues with Sharpton and Jackson being considered the "only voices of black America" also. But for whatever reason, many of our other great voices are ignored. This is a media issue. The media has dubbed them our leaders and done so without asking us who our personal leaders are... It of course has to do with the fact that in particular Jesse shows up in nearly every picture of Dr. King and has built a career (although no where near as successfully) of trying to carry on with the work.

For my case, I find Senator Obama and Congressmen John Lewis and John Conyers and Maya Angelou and Rev Joseph Lowery and Pastor Amos Brown and Congreswomen Sheila Jackson Lee and Gwen Moore and Maxine Waters and even Oprah much more compelling and inspiring figures than Jackson and Sharpton. They just get all the press.


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