Growing up, as a proud member of the millennial generation, I have been taught to love and accept everyone, no matter their skin color or socioeconomic background.
The popular children’s show, Barney, ended every episode with a diverse group of kids singing, “I love you, you love me, we’re a great big family...” This instilled in many of my peers and myself a true sense of seeing past the issue of race and having acceptance of all.
Millennials have been raised in an environment where African Americans have been elected to Congress, won Grammys, become leading medical professionals, Heisman winners, and now president of the United States.
Truly integrated into a society as equals where many of their ancestors were slaves. A dream of one of the greatest Americans to live, Martin Luther King Jr., is now a reality.
Rev. Al Sharpton, left, speaks with parents of Michael Brown, Michael Brown Sr. and Lesley McSpadden, right, during a rally at Greater Grace Church, Sunday, Aug. 17, 2014, for their son who was killed by police last Saturday in Ferguson, Mo. Sharpton told the rally Brown’s death was a "defining moment for this country." (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
I have grown up seeing no difference when it comes to race, but acknowledge there are still individuals in the millennial generation and older generations that can only see skin deep.
From what I have observed, as a millennial, I believe one of those people is Al Sharpton.
I am very engaged in politics and love contributing to the national conversation as a millennial voice and the only time I ever hear from or about Al Sharpton is when a white person kills a young African American. These are awful tragedies by any ones standards, but it seems that the actions of Al Sharpton, and other so called race hustlers, are trying to turn back the clock on all the progress made for their own political and financial gain.
The Rev. Al Sharpton’s largely inflammatory words and actions almost always make the situation more volatile. I have never once read an article or seen a news segment, in my short millennial life, where the great reverend was marching for better education in primarily African American communities, or the large number of African American’s on welfare (39.8 percent), and the staggering number of African American youth unemployed (23.8 percent).
Never has there been an outrage by the reverend by the overwhelming number of black-on-black crime that happens in this country. According to the Department of Justice, African Americans are around 13 percent of the population but they are 50 percent of the homicide victims. Most importantly 90 percent of those victims are killed by other African Americans.
[sharequote align="center"]Al Sharpton thinks he is judge and jury. I can't think of a time where he made a situation better.[/sharequote]
It seems to me that liberals, like the Rev. Sharpton, only make it more difficult for African Americans to succeed and receive justice. The reverend seems to think that he can litigate controversies over wrongful deaths (or murders) using the media and his power grip as a “civil rights” activist and MSNBC anchor.
Al Sharpton believes he is the judge and the jury. I cannot think of one instance, at least in my lifetime, where he has made a situation better.
Solely based on the statistics provided by the Justice Department, it seems that the reverend and others could better assist their community by focusing on the black-on-black homicides rather than on selective, racially-charged incidences for the pure purpose of raising money for their charities and increasing name recognition for future books sale.
There is absolutely no doubt that the officer involved in the death of young Michael Brown used excessive and unnecessary force and should be prosecuted. Although, the evidence being produced is now largely contradicting the story many leaders of these Ferguson protests have been spreading.
The Rev. Al Sharpton speaks during a news conference on the steps of the Old Courthouse on Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 12, 2014, in St. Louis about the shooting of Michael Brown Jr in Ferguson, Mo. Behind Sharpton are, from left, Michael Brown Sr., attorney Benjamin Crump, and Lesley McSpadden, Brown's mother. (AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, J.B. Forbes)
And the inflammatory presence by Al Sharpton and his colleague, Jesse Jackson, have only incited more violence and looting by protestors looking for answers.
If anything significant came from the presence and leadership from Rev. Sharpton and Mr. Jackson, that didn’t include violence and predetermined judgment, their presence would be welcomed. These two "civil rights" leaders have now become what many refer to as race hustlers or race baiters and even those in the African American community are beginning to see this.
Millennials have been a part of the successful transformation of America where all men are created equal, a place where men like Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are needed less and less. We have come so far as a country, proven by the election of Barack Obama, and as millennials begin to take more prominent leadership positions in this country we can become closer to a more completely color blind nation.
And the less we hear from those who make their living off of and fame from racial tension the better we will be as a nation.
Salvator La Mastra is an expert in millennials and the youth vote. Follow: @SalvatorV EMAIL: Sal.firstname.lastname@example.org for media inquiries.
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