CNN: Eric Holder's Appearance with Al Sharpton, What Does It Mean? | Kulture Kritic
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CNN: Eric Holder’s Appearance with Al Sharpton, What Does It Mean?


CNN: Eric Holder’s Appearance with Al Sharpton, What Does It Mean?

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder’s decision to speak at an annual convention of the Rev. Al Sharpton’s group, in which Trayvon Martin was a key issue, has been widely panned as a political ploy.

But maybe, just maybe, it’s also evidence that the tamer version of the civil rights leader that we’ve seen in recent years — the syndicated radio host, the MSNBC personality, the White House adviser — is enjoying broader legitimacy these days.

“It certainly is a sign of Sharpton’s very close relationship with the White House,” said Boyce Watkins, a political analyst and Syracuse University economist who often weighs in on race relations. “But to think there isn’t a political calculation involved would be a bit naïve.”

Holder opened his Wednesday speech at the National Action Network with high praise for Sharpton, thanking him for being a partner and friend and for his “tireless efforts to speak out for the voiceless, to stand up for the powerless and to shine a light on the problems we must solve, and the promises we must fulfill.”

He went on to say that he could not discuss the DOJ investigation into the 17-year-old Martin’s killing at the hands of neighborhood watch captain George Zimmerman but that Justice Department officials were meeting with Martin’s family, local police and the Sanford, Florida, community.

He promised a “thorough and independent review” and said, “If we find evidence of a potential federal criminal civil rights crime, we will take appropriate action. And, at every step, the facts and the law will guide us forward.”

Conservative websites quickly blasted Holder and questioned how the attorney general could stand next to a man whose long history of civil disobedience and protest includes allegations of defamation and inciting deadly riots.

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A checkered past

In a column on The American Spectator website, titled “Holder is a disgrace … and a very bad man,” senior editor Quin Hillyer wrote, “Even I, with my low opinion of Thug-in-General Eric Holder, can’t believe he would lavish praise on scofflaw, tax evader, and murderous inciter to violence Al Sharpton in the way Holder did.”

Tawana Brawley holds hands with Sharpton and her attorney outside the New York Supreme Court in 1990.
Tawana Brawley holds hands with Sharpton and her attorney outside the New York Supreme Court in 1990.

A columnist added of Holder, “Why should he be introduced by Al Sharpton, the man who once incited a race riot in Crown Heights ending in the murder of an Orthodox Jew, the man who pushed the trumped-up Tawana Brawley case, the man who forwarded the false Duke lacrosse rape case, and the man who is currently stirring up trouble in Sanford?”

“He’s doing it because that’s his job: to pander to extremists like Sharpton. That’s why we’ve heard nothing from the DOJ about the New Black Panthers’ bounty — or even their voter intimidation back in 2008.”

Sharpton has refused to apologize for his handling of the 1987 Brawley case, despite being found liable for defamation. He apologized for using racially charged language ahead of the 1991 Crown Heights riots but has denied responsibility for any of the violence. Sharpton’s involvement in the Duke case was minimal, but he stood behind the lacrosse players’ accuser when she was later discredited. The accused students were vindicated

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  1. playrighter

    April 18, 2012 at 5:34 pm

    Mr. Holder has enough credibility problems without pandering to Mr. Sharpton, who was also involved in the Freddie’s Fashion Mart
    violence, stirred up because the proprietor raised the rent on a black tenant. Sharpton failed to reveal that the proprietor HAD to raise the rent, because his black landlord raised his rent.

    Might that have made a difference?

  2. makheru bradley

    April 18, 2012 at 10:51 pm

    It only means one thing–Obama needs a huge Afrikan American turnout in swing states and he needs Sharpton to be one of his leading attack dogs against Afrikan Americans who raise legitimate criticisms such as this:

  3. Sherrie C.

    April 18, 2012 at 11:14 pm

    Keep fighting for us, Rev. Al….Keep hope alive!

  4. D.C.

    April 19, 2012 at 12:06 am

    It means the movement I started to get people to send the US Justice Department emails, FB messages,, etc. is working. Trayvon Martins rights were violated and there are so many officials in this town who are saying bad things and that is a violation of all our rights. Got to the US Department of Justice page on Facebook and send a message. Keep the hot on them.

  5. blkgold

    April 19, 2012 at 11:02 am

    If Trayvon had been your family member would you not want an investigation by DOJ? Should people who shoot other people be held accountable? I’ve been so disappointed to hear that americans feel like this shooting was justified without any kind of investigation. Just let him go. Why?

  6. Thomasisthe1

    April 19, 2012 at 5:42 pm

    Obama’s re-election campaign is in desperate trouble. Reality is that those Whites that trusted him to really make a difference are clearly disatisfied with the polarization that has actually got worse.
    Even the first couple of years when he had a majority in both houses things just didn’t get done and now every proposed bill is definitely dead on arrival. It just isn’t going to happen. Even if every African American that can legally vote supported him it won’t be enough without none Black support. It’s that simple, he squandered his potential legacy & he’s not getting the vote across the country as when he was all the rage & generated so much hope & excitement. Forget the swing states. They ain’t swinging Obama’s way.

  7. makheru bradley

    April 20, 2012 at 2:34 am

    Speaking of campaign symbolism:

    [At a campaign fundraiser earlier today at the Henry Ford Museum in Detroit, President Obama had a chance to sit and reflect inside the old Montgomery, Ala., bus on which Rosa Parks made history.

    “I just sat in there for a moment and pondered the courage and tenacity that is part of our very recent history but is also part of that long line of folks who sometimes are nameless, oftentimes didn’t make the history books, but who constantly insisted on their dignity, their share of the American dream,” Obama told donors at a subsequent event in suburban Detroit, according to a print pool reporter on scene.]

    Just wondering here what recent “courage and tenacity” the POTUS is comparing to the courage and tenacity of the people involved in the Civil Rights Movement. Clearly he cannot be referring to his selective courage”—defending white damsels in distress (Taylor Swift/Sandra Fluke) while throwing Shirley Sherrod to the wolves.

    Then there is the hypocrisy of this president who has facilitated crimes against Afrikan humanity (Tawergha), and who is assaulting the US constitution, sitting in the seat of the Iconic Ancestor Rosa McCauley Parks. Based on the legal position taken by Obama’s lawyers, if Mrs. Parks were arrested protesting today she could be strip searched with Obama’s support.

    [As The Guardian said yesterday: “The decision was a victory for the jails and for the Obama administration, which argued for an across-the-board rule allowing strip-searches of all those entering the general jail population, even those arrested on minor offenses.”]

    The obvious objective of President Obama is to stifle dissent, without which he would never have become POTUS. This is an absolute disgrace.

    He should allow himself to be photographed at the controls of a drone. That would be more appropriate.

    [In his first three years, Obama has unleashed 268 covert drone strikes, five times the total George W. Bush ordered during his eight years in office. All told, drones have been used to kill more than 3,000 people designated as terrorists, including at least four U.S. citizens. In the process, according to human rights groups, they have also claimed the lives of more than 800 civilians. Obama’s drone program, in fact, amounts to the largest unmanned aerial offensive ever conducted in military history; never have so few killed so many by remote control.]

  8. Bron Rock

    April 30, 2012 at 2:19 pm

    Why doesn’t bowatkin, the writer of this article, come out and tell us what he wants it to mean instead of just stirring up the proverbial pot!

    There is nothing dignified about this article in terms of being news worthy because there are no facts to support any wrong doing.

    The only wrong doing is this newspaper not letting the Attorney General act in accord with his discretion. The trouble with to many of you is your predilection for trying to control the new breed of people in power to act in accord with the old breed of people who were in power but who are now “Gone With The Wind!”

    We don’t want you to bait us into a story, we only want you to report on a story!

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