Originally published on The Industry Cosign April 12, 2015
After the tragic murder of homicide victim, Walter Scott, by an alleged racist act from South Carolina police officer, Michael T. Slager, the Scott family stated they didn’t want Rev. Al Sharpton involved in their quest for justice for Walter Scott. A source close to the family stated “We don’t want another Ferguson type of circus here.” This brings to mind something I’ve stated previously in years past. Whenever there is an injustice to a Black person in America, it seems as if Sharpton (According to the general media) is the automatic go-to person and maybe Jesse Jackson is the runner-up. It’s as if they are the ONLY Black people who fight for the rights of our people. Of course, they are widely respected for the work and time put in over the years, to make sure that the equal rights that we purportedly have, are, somewhat met. I respect all that they have done and will continue to do, no doubt.
But, my issue isn’t with them at all, it’s the perception that out of millions of Black people in this country, the reliance, specifically, on Al Sharpton, to be the voice of Black people and the one who has all the solutions, is not only, unfair, but, just plain dumb! It’s as if we, as a race, have all the same views, opinions and viewpoints of one or two of our ‘leaders.’ It also places a very broad stroke of the ‘racial paintbrush’ that white America has of us, based on anything Sharpton says or does.
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In their eyes, we, as Black people, are all the same. We eat the same food, watch the exact same shows, listen to Hip-Hop and we aren’t really educated and all come from a single family home. Ok, I may be exaggerating a little, but, not really. I have to say that based on my experience of dealing with Black people, we are probably the MOST diverse race as we are even in conflict with ourselves at times, because of, not only outside perception, but, inner ones as well.
I write all this to say that we need new Black voices to speak for us, not that we need someone to speak for us, but, in the bigger picture, the representation, no, the perception from the outside is that there are only a few voices/faces that know what we want and/or need as Black people. Now, we, as Black people KNOW that that is the farthest from the truth, but, I know I am sick of hearing the same voices and/or seeing the same faces because, although I may agree with the work they are doing, it doesn’t mean I always agree with them. Example? Protesting. I honestly feel like doing so in these days and times is actually a waste of time as, recent history shows, it doesn’t change the perception of the racists people out here who are causing and committing the injustices Blacks suffer often. If it were solely up to me, I would encourage more Black people to become involved in politics and in other decision-making roles to have a say in how, not only the law is interpreted, but, in the passing of legislation and anything that continues to keep the power in the hands of people who have no inclination to see us succeed.
But, I also have to say that, we, as Black media, have to give the voices we need, the forum we have, so this way, we can be truly represented. As in the tag line of FUBU, For Us, By Us.
(CEDitor’s Note: I used Talib Kweli‘s photo because he is one of the new Black voices I feel represents me more than the current voices allowed to speak for us.)