Politics of Racial Division Coming to Indianapolis Permanently?


"Reverend" Al Sharpton

That collective groan you may have heard in the Indianapolis area the other day likely emanated from the city’s conservative community and hopefully every other rationally-minded citizen who cares about real racism.

In case you missed it, Reverend Al Sharpton, in town on Wednesday to protest alleged police brutality in the Brandon Johnson case, used the opportunity to announce his plans to open a headquarters for his National Action Network. This is supposedly a shot across the bow of Republican Mayor Greg Ballard, whom Sharpton has critized for his reluctance to meet with a local ministerial group on this issue of police brutality.

Admittedly, race relations in the Indianapolis area between the IMPD and the community aren’t exactly making folks feel all warm and cozy with each other. There have been several high profile incidents in the last year, including the Johnson case and a fake fight staged to bait an unknowing police officer. These and other incidents have apparently cemented the notion by some that an organization like NAN belongs here. I beg to differ.

First, why would something like this even be deemed necessary, considering the existence of groups like the Concerned Clergy of Indianapolis? Shouldn’t they be taking the lead on this instead of relying on a nationally known and controversial figure like Sharpton? Could it be because the Concerned Clergy hasn’t exactly seemed up to the task?

Secondly, NAN’s history of alleged shady financial dealings doesn’t inspire my confidence. There’ve been allegations in the past, in the style of compatriot Jesse Jackson, that Sharpton has engaged in soliciting “donations” from some of the very corporations against which he’s threatened boycotts and protests. NAN has also been investigated for tax payment irregularities, though related charges were dropped in 2008.

Lastly, why do we want the controversy that seemingly flows from Sharpton like cops coming out of a donut shop? In my opinion, the only thing that Sharpton and his National Action Network are really all that good at is generating a little bit of cheap cash for themselves. Actually, now that I think about it, they might not even be all that successful at that, either. If recent news is anywhere near accurate, this situation may take care of itself.

I asked local talk radio host, WXNT‘s own Abdul-Hakim Shabazz, about his take on Sharpton’s organization possibly coming to town and he pretty much summed up what I was thinking. “The good thing about the NAN coming to town is that they will be paying rent.”

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2 Responses

  1. Yep, the “reverend” (it should always be in quotation marks) needs to stay home and tend his “flock.” I don’t see what Sharpton can complain about, the mayor did just about everything he could to resolve this, including terminating the police officer. I think IMPD has some problems that need cleaned up, but “reverand” Al ain’t the guy for the job. He’s just gonna make things worse!

    • Sharpton is a publicity whore, just like Jesse Jackson. It’s all about stirring up the public, organizing protests and the like, and getting “donations” from big companies to keep them quiet.

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