Author’s note: this is not an actual letter from the Reverend Al Sharpton.
A letter of thanks to the entire population of historically disenfranchised and oppressed people of America:
I know this comes without much surprise, but I must thank you all for once again igniting the fire that keeps me relevant. The death of Mike Brown in Ferguson- a mere month or so after the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island- has allowed me to once again step into the national spotlight while the rest of the country ignores my television appearances and doesn’t buy my books. But above all and most importantly, I want to thank you all for creating such an uproar over two very unfortunate events which will enable people like myself, and other progressive liberals, to continue enslaving you and lying to you for another hundred years, if not more. I mean it’s been two centuries so far, why not make it three?
I want to thank the minority community for ignoring the fact that “big”, and often militarized American police forces are the result of the progressive policies that enable unions to become so powerful and politically influential that who you guys have come to know as “bad cops” cannot be fired no matter what. I’d also like to thank you for failing to consider that “bad cops” might be the result of the harsh environments we have created for you and relegated you to. Further, I’d especially like to thank you for following me in my demands for justice- entirely ignoring the fact that my words defy the very definition justice, and have painted Officer Darren Wilson as guilty before we could even so much as hear about an autopsy. The best part about that is now that we have heard about an autopsy that indicates an event completely unlike that which eye-witnesses recalled, no one even cares about it. Why would we have to when Mike Brown’s mother has already told us he was a good kid? The funeral is on television, the White House has sent a delegation to attend that outnumbers that of the one sent to Margaret Thatcher’s funeral, and no one cares about silly things like autopsies when yet another one of our angels has been taken from us.
I’d like to thank you all for ignoring that the perpetually dysfunctional, impoverished, and crime-ridden cities of America where the deaths of young men and women of color are so frequent were built by people like me. I’d like to thank you for continuing to vote for the progressives who have driven the lower classes of major cities like New York, DC, Detroit, Chicago, Oakland, Los Angeles, and Baltimore (among others) so deep into pits of despair that the only thing keeping their votes guaranteed are the scraps of meat we throw at them from the dinner table of the nation’s 1%-political-elite, and the idea that, somehow, Democrats exactly like me in mind (but not in
spirit pigment) are responsible for 100% of the slavery and segregation of this country’s past that has most definitely handicapped your shot at success today, and in the future. Thank you for your unflinching devotion to the welfare state that we have set up to ensure not that you pull yourselves out of it, but that you remain entrapped in it for life. Thank you for allowing me to convince you that this is all about white privilege, and that none of it was politically-motivated, or the intent of my buddies in Washington, or of those they followed into power.
(We’re talking about you, LBJ and FDR!)
Thank you for ignoring that I have more blood on my hands than the police forces of this nation combined will ever have; it sure does feel good to be considered a peaceful man of character. In doing this you’ve set me upon the same perch that civil rights leaders like Martin Luther King, Jr. enjoyed, and you’ve most certainly forgotten that a man of MLK’s character would have despised a deceitful, hateful, and conniving old man like myself. Thank you for looking at the nation’s law enforcement as a band of thugs, dead-set on targeting young and unarmed “children” of color. Thank you for talking about how it “has to stop”, and how it is time to respect everyone’s human rights. Thank you for ignoring how you, as a member of the historically disenfranchised and oppressed people of America, are exponentially more likely to be killed by your friend at school, your neighbor, or even one of your relatives than a police officer. Thank you for not considering, even if just for a minute, that the aggressive nature of policemen in cities like Ferguson are the result of the notions we have instilled in you from birth through the persistent suffocation of your choices, your talents, and your potential. Thank you for allowing my colleagues at MSNBC to convince you that black-on-black crime trends are irrelevant and have no place in this discussion- a bunch of black kids have been shot and killed since the death of Mike Brown, but come on- I can’t rake in any cash for that.
You’ve stood by me through the Trayvon Martin episode, where not even one of you considered that both George Zimmerman and Trayvon were in the wrong. That was impossible. We just marched in honor of Eric Garner in Staten Island, and while the force used by the NYPD in that situation might have been excessive, none of you would even know who Eric Garner was if that young police officer wasn’t white. And now we’ve buried another of our unfortunate sons, and you have an entire nation trusting and believing with a full, but heavy heart that he was a man of character- a good person, with a spotless record.
Just like me.
Thank you for the years, and the years yet to come, where we will continue to foster an environment of hatred, violence, gang warfare, dependence, poverty, and the eventual rage that comes along when one of our own is killed by someone who happens to be white– thank you for not reminding your friends in the streets of Ferguson protesting peacefully that this occurs about once for every 1,200 of us who are killed by way of violence. No one has to know.
Thank you, as always, for allowing me to define what racism is for you. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to inject race into every discussion imaginable, while being on the same “team” that created just about every single varietal of racism that has infected this country since its founding. Thank you all for failing to realize, yet again, that labeling young black men who find the wrong end of a gun (when that gun is fired by white people) as immune from guilt, is in fact a racist position.
Thank you for allowing me to be your voice, your mind, and most importantly the force that guides your hand on Election Day. Without you we couldn’t elect the people who keep allowing me to be here, when I should probably still be sitting in prison.
Keep it up, for me– certainly not for you. I’ll be here ready to thank you again sometime soon, I’m sure of it.
With love and gratitude,