August 9th, 2008
10:41 AM ET

After Dr. King, it's still black and white

Program Note: In the next installment of CNN's Black in America series, Soledad O'Brien examines the successes, struggles and complex issues faced by black men, women and families, 40 years after the death of the Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Watch encore presentation Saturday & Sunday, 8 p.m. ET

We devote several days on the blog to smart insight and commentary related to the special.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/24/art.vert.alsharpton.jpg width=292 height=320]

Reverend Al Sharpton
President, National Action Network

It was a brisk Saturday morning in November 2006, and I was en route to the weekly action rally at National Action Network in Harlem when my cell phone rang asking me to intervene at Jamaica Hospital in Queens where a young Black male had been killed by police. On the other end of the phone was Nicole Paultre, a 23-year-old woman who told me that her fiancé, Sean Bell had been shot and killed by the police early that morning.

I could not get anyone on the phone at the hospital where Sean and his friends were, (Trent Benefield and Joseph Guzman, who were also shot). So I turned my car around and rode over to the hospital to obtain more information. That moment started what became the Sean Bell movement for justice, to put an end to police misconduct in communities of color.

I later found out that Sean was killed on the day he was to be married, in an array of 50 shots as he and two friends (all unarmed and not even suspected of a crime) became the victims of a brutal police action. This action, representative of so many around the country, shows the continuing problem of how Blacks in general - Black males in particular - are treated differently from whites under the same circumstances and same municipalities.

It wasn’t three months later that I got a call from the mother of Mychal Bell, the 17-yr-old in jail in Jena, Louisiana, who had been charged with attempted murder for a schoolyard fight. In both cases National Action Network and I were able to help mobilize tens of thousands of people to march and protest, leading to indictments, but no convictions with the policemen involved in the Bell case. It also led to getting Mychal Bell out of jail and his charges reduced. But the bigger message is that despite people saying the civil rights movement and activism are things of the past and no longer needed, people on the ground who live real life every day know that this is far from true.

If one looks at the disproportionate rate of incarceration, disparities in health care, police brutality, and even the achievement gap in education, one can conclude that we have made some progress but we are not there yet. The dream of Dr. King and others in the 60’s was equal protection under the law and equal opportunity. We are closer but still not there. Malcolm X used to say if a man has a 6-inch knife in your back and pulls 3 inches out that is progress but you still have 3-inches of knife in your back.

I am 53 years old, born and raised in Brooklyn. The Black governor is now one year older than I, and I am supporting a Black man for president who is six years younger than I. I am part of a generation where I never sat in the back of a bus, never drank from a colored water fountain. I was a child when they marched in Selma. I don’t know anything about segregated lunch counters. I’m too young to know the battles of the 60’s but I’m old enough to have heard the stories first hand from my parents and those that fought those battles.

But cases like Jena and Sean Bell, and the education and health disparities, are our generation's lunch counters and back of the bus issues. And unless we do things like the march in Jena, no one will even act like they exist.

Yes, Black America today is different and yet it's the same because the gap is still there. Forty years ago when Dr. King was killed, this was a different America. But also 40 years ago the President of United States commissioned a Kerner Report to study the problem of race in America. That report found there were two Americas: Black and White and very unequal. The conclusion 40 years later in many areas unfortunately would still be the same. I do not raise it to hold on to the past. I raise it to challenge us to have real change in the future, and real change doesn’t come from ignoring reality.

Filed under: Black in America • Rev. Al Sharpton
soundoff (47 Responses)
  1. Mike in NYC

    To: Ray in L.A.

    You wrote:

    “It is death by a thousand paper cuts.”

    From about 500,000 slaves brought to the Americas, blacks are now nearly forty million, most living at a level beyond the dreams of their ancestors, and the reach of most modern Africans. This increase was a benefit of living within Western civilization, as well as by outright subsidization, to the tune of over a trillion dollars in wealth transferred from whites to blacks. That doesn’t sound like “death” to me.

    As to your litany of unpaid labor, a quote is useful here -

    Eddis, William. Letters from America, Historical and Descriptive: Comprising Occurrences from 1769 to 1777 Inclusive. London: 1792:

    “By the eighteenth century indentured servants [he’s talking whites here] outnumbered African slaves in the North American colonies…. Negroes being a property for life, the death of slaves … is a material loss to the proprietor; they are, therefore, almost in every instance, under more comfortable circumstances than the miserable European…”

    In other words, slaves had it better than paid indentured European servants.

    July 25, 2008 at 9:38 am |
  2. Pat

    Thank You Ray. It is true America has come a long way but from where I sit, it truly has a long way to go. It is way past time America began to realize they are way behind the other Nations who have dealt with ethic problems and chosen a new path to a brighter future.

    When I heard the story of the lady in the hospital treated with less dignity and regard than an animal . When I read the story about the Black Man being tassered nine times, with nine times 50,000 volts of electricity, I was astounded that such vile, hateful, heartless, indifferent souls still live and breathe in America! And more astounding is the fact that some of these same vile creatures are representatives of what their State defines as Justice! This is not only unacceptable. It is unthinkable, criminal and inhumane!

    July 25, 2008 at 8:38 am |
  3. RBD

    America is not a fair place. It may be the best available but not fair! To think as a black person nor any non-white u will receive the same treatment as a white in a white country is delusional on the best of days!!! Human nature being what it is says that white prefer whites and blacks blacks, etc. For sure if ur tribe is associated with illegal/aborant behavior u are going to be lumped into the same category, rightly or wrongly. Hence u operate in a society that sees u in a tribal sense and not as an individual and attribute characteristics of ur tribe to u. So from the jump u have to demonstrate and show beyond a reasonable doubt ur different from the rest in order to progress. It's a hard row but it's the reality of being non-white in America.

    Blacks have been in America as long as whites and contributed to its greatness as much as any group, albeit thru involuntary servitude for the first couple hundred years. With so-called emancipation, we were cast in the wilderness for the next hundred years. Its only been since the '60s to date (50 years) that America has begun to accept us into the mainstream. In the past 50 years, many have made great strides but many more have regressed into a pathology of irresposibilty. HIV, drugs, homicides, avaricious promiscuity, single parent families, disdain for education, unbridled materialism at the expense of wealth creation, and last but not least self deprecating oratory and language. This kind of self-hatred culminates in a self imposed genocide that is blamed on others instead of admitting u are the perpetrators of ur own demise. The limits of tyrants are set by the people they oppress; power concedes nothing but to power. White America at its worst could not have done to blacks that blacks have. No tribe in America relies on its clergy (reverends) as blacks to right the wrongs perceived heaped upon them. Until individuals decide to ante up and do what it takes to right this listing ship, blacks will remain afloat unsold in the sea of life!!!!

    July 25, 2008 at 2:34 am |
  4. awhiteman

    I cant wait to see how they blame "the man" when "the man" is black. even though B O was raised by whites and of a black father who ran out on them. oh wait that the white man fault like everthing else they do.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:35 am |
  5. Patricia

    A felony conviction is a death sentence to a black person in America, unless you have the resources available to substain your own business. I know, I am a black ex-felon. I am a mother, grandmother, and recent college graduate–top honors, at that. I get the interviews. But as soon as the application is filled out and the conviction is mentioned, I am dismissed as viable candidate for the position. I am hungry, desperate, and disgusted. I made some mistakes. I spent the time required for my crime. How much more time do I have to do? Thirteen years and two degrees later; and I still can't get a job. Oh, I forgot. I might can get a job as a food service worker, housekeeper, or warehouse picker.

    July 25, 2008 at 1:30 am |
  6. Jamal

    You all have it all wrong because what is missed in all education and omitted from Blacks and white (including all races,cultures etc.) is real truth . Asian man started dark colored. Indian man, African man Mexican and any other indigenous cultured being all started dark colored. White people: in order to become the ruler race of the world you would first have to confuse and control. Here's what i mean! if two tribes can communicate with each other with respect and any other tribe be respectful to each others tribes I have to cause a riff between them, because they harvest and cultivate and create things that i see that would be seen to have great value to the "queen" and the "king" of my country.I can have these things control them then profit from bond-labor if i am lucky and govern a new way for them here and those of us to build new homes here to become successful and flourish in a land that is innate in riches of it's own resource. The

    July 25, 2008 at 12:50 am |
  7. Cliff

    I think two things need to be done. People need to learn the nuances of culture in this country. Ignorance leads to bigotry.

    Most articles to me here read RACISM=RACIAL PROFILING

    We need to fix this issue to solve it seems to me the biggest concern

    White America needs to reduce its simplified stereotypical view of black people

    Black people need to stop walking around with a "chip on their shoulder" and act angry all the time

    White and black people need to embrace a culture of achievement instead of a culture of failure. Ergo, Let your children know that failing at something is OK, but not trying is not OK.

    How you carry yourself is how you will be treated. It is not a crime to conform sometimes to be successful. That is called being part of a business culture. Wear a suit, be well groomed, no tattos, can get you a lot farther than you realize. Friendly over angry leads to a positive response

    July 25, 2008 at 12:24 am |
  8. Lou

    Here we go again. Another narrow minded person who thinks America is black and white. Come to Los Angeles where I live and see the tapestry of diiferent races and cultures. Why are people like Al Sharpton so selfish in their world view?

    July 25, 2008 at 12:18 am |
  9. Cliff

    It doesn't help when some people use the race card when it does not exist. It is like calling wolf too often. people are not going to believe you. Sometimes it is used as a scapegoat for any failure, whether it is school, job, or whatever. Overuse makes it difficult to distinguish real from fake use of the term.

    It seems like every article is about racial profiling. Is that all there is to blacks feeling downtrodden in America right now? If so, then we have indeed made huge progress from a real dark past.

    Arab Americans are suffering the same unfairness.

    July 25, 2008 at 12:04 am |
  10. Ray in L.A.

    Don't really know a lot about Italians, but I have no personal animous toward them. What Mr. Sharpton eludes to is the pervasiveness of racism against black people in this country. It is death by a thousand paper cuts. But what is interesting to me is that you are not sensitive to the fact that at least 95% of corporate CEOs are other than black (the corporate league if you will), that prior to affirmative action which was enacted during the mid 60's corporate America could just have easily and voluntarily done the right thing ( which they didn't!!!!!!), that nowhere is it talked about the 200 and more years of white male affirmative action that excluded everyone else, that the black code which was written to enslave african people after 1865 i.e. the Jim Crow period was most assuredly not written by black people but was written by a group of people I have come to call "Ostrich" people – people who play like they aren't responsible for past crimes but who still profit by past economic injustice. Yet you elude to some persons being lazy. How many of your descendants bricked the streets of Atlanta for free. How many of them mined coal in Birmingham FOR FREE???? How many of your relatives have been killed with impunity and no prosecution? How many of your family have been tasered 9 times??? Yes there are low lifes in all groups but the true criminals are seldom prosecuted. They start wars without justification. They profiteer on the lost lives of young Americans and fail to deliver on the promises that their service merits. These among other miscreants are the true criminal "ostrich" people.

    July 24, 2008 at 11:48 pm |
  11. Karen

    I agree with Rosie.

    I am a white woman who remembers well the time she speaks of.

    I traveled with my family and was shocked to see the signs on motels, water fountains, bathrooms. I watched on television as people had dogs set upon them and hoses aimed at them and were cursed and spit upon.

    I know things are better. I know things are still not right. We've come a ways, but we have a long way to go.

    Reverend Sharpton can certainly be abrasive, but he gets attention.
    And if you listen to what he is saying, maybe you can put aside your notions that he's always wrong and realize that sometimes he makes a lot of sense.

    I also support Obama. He's the first candidate in many years who actually inspires me.

    July 24, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  12. Feliece

    While I thought that the CNN piece was needed (it's about time that the issue's of the black community were highlighted and exposed to a broader audience than it has been in the past) I have to say that I didn't like the differences in the manner that the two part series was conducted. I don't feel that the plight of the black woman was highligted as much as that of the black man. The special covered the life of the black single mother, the mother who's lost a child, the plight of women with HIV as well as the black single successful woman. But there's more to the black woman that deals with more than the men that we are devoted to. What about our roles in the workplace, or our roles in the black church? As someone else said, why did we not hear anything about the black women who are pastor's of churches? Where was the piece about black young ladies having babies, and/or out there on their own? I thought that the point of this piece was to bring the issues of the black community to the outside world, but for us to really try to make them understand (though I don't think that will ever happen) we have to expose them to EVERYTHING!

    July 24, 2008 at 11:37 pm |
  13. Ihor Oleksyn

    The one thing that I truly am sick of is how if someone like Imus makes a comment; every Black (supposed) leader will try to "lynch" him or her. But when the "Reverened Dr. Jackson" wants to ....... it's okay. It's okay to be Black and say it. But guess what; we've been dealing with reverse discrimination for years also. It pisses me off that you can't go forward. Because, every time we hear from your Rev.'s (either Mr. Jackson or Mr. Sharpton); it's only when it's usually a media opportunity or photo op. They have proven that they are no better than the problem we need to address. Hip hop, sports, media, inc., ltd., ...on on on on . Progress has been made. Unfortunately, people like Bill Cosby are labled as " Uncle Toms". As a Caucasian, that is someone that I admire

    July 24, 2008 at 11:28 pm |
  14. Melissa, Los Angeles

    I'm still waiting for you Rev. Sharpton and Rev. Jackson to apologize to the Duke LaCrosse team for vilifying them when in reality this black woman had LIED about being raped.

    July 24, 2008 at 10:57 pm |
  15. James

    Enough of the Black thing. Whats next. This whole thing is getting worry some. Is CNN going to do the history of the injustice of the Irish and the rest of the people that came to this country. Obama is pretty shallow but not because he is Black. Sharpton is a spokesman for the Black people. Surley we can do better than that. Jackson goes without comment.

    July 24, 2008 at 10:48 pm |
  16. RICK T

    It has never been about African-Americans as a whole needing to stand out . It has always been about equal access, opportunity and protection under the laws of this country.
    As a 37 year old, college educated Black man, I have experienced the promise and prejudice of this country. I have been subjected to things that I wish on no one. In spite of my experiences, I cannot allow my pain derail me from my mission to be a great father and husband.
    The problem lies in the fact that at any given time in my life, I will be judged only by the fact that I am a Black man. I have no way of knowing when, and by whom it will happen. It could be by my employer, the police, or my potential mortgage lender. so until this country can ensure that I, or amy other minority, will not have to live with this fear, and anger, there will continue to be a need for dialogue about the subject.
    Before you demonize the message, and perhaps the messenger, taka a look in the mirror. Make sure you are not the one at times perpetuating this cycle

    July 24, 2008 at 10:33 pm |
  17. Mike in NYC

    To: Kent Fitzsimmons, Kewanee, IL

    To be complete, here’s a source for the 90% figure:

    Walter Williams, “An Ugly Conspiracy of Silence,” August 18, 1999:

    “In that year [1994], there were about 1,700,000 interracial crimes, of which 1,276,030 involved whites and blacks. In 90 percent of the cases, a white was the victim and a black was the perpetrator, while in 10 percent of the cases it was the reverse.”

    I doubt that the awful picture has changed much since then.

    July 24, 2008 at 10:21 pm |
  18. Amy

    IF you want to know what it's like to be white the listen up! Just like every other race whites generally are also looking to put the blame on someone or something else. The only way for things to change is for people of every color to learn that we all get dealt hard hands in life. What is hard for me might not be hard for you but we all have challenges that we have to overcome and what we all have to learn is to stop blaming someone else! Black people blame whites for the lack of jobs available for them when there are whites that are blaming affirmative action and illegal immigrants. People need to work hard and earn what they get. This country is all about what I'm owed and who took that from me.. The only one taking things from you is you! IF you are only looking for who done me wrong you only have yourself to blame! People need to understand that your actions have consequences and when we make those choices we are choosing the outcomes!!! Start thinking before you act!!!!!!!!!!

    July 24, 2008 at 10:04 pm |
  19. Larry

    Lest we forget the Duke Lacrosse Team that was roasted over the fires by 88 members oftheir own university and not one of those 88 ever issued an apology. The girl involved was supposedly going to get a scholarship from the good Rev. Jesse Jackson; however, he said he was unable to get in contact with her.

    Those boys from Duke fought back to have their reputations restored, its even sadder to have seen their coach summarily fired, without proof of any wrongdoing.

    July 24, 2008 at 9:05 pm |
  20. Mike in NYC

    To: Kent Fitzsimmons, Kewanee, IL

    Sorry to intrude upon your fantasy world, but facts are facts.

    Earl Ofari Hutchinson, a black writer, wrote on May 31, 2007:

    "...whites are far more likely to be the victims and blacks their assailants in interracial crimes than the other way around.... according to FBI figures, on average there were about 1 million and a half to 2 million racial crossover crimes in the country."

    So the vast majority of those 1-2 million interracial crimes are committed against whites. How many black victims in the cases that you mentioned? Single digits?

    I can tell you from a lifetime lived in large East Coast cities that non-whites routinely go into white areas to commit crimes. The reverse – white criminals preying on non-white areas – is, for all intents and purposes, non-existent.

    July 24, 2008 at 9:03 pm |
  21. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    What Al Sharpton forgot to mention:

    Bell: Sean Bell had been arrested three times, twice for drug dealing and once for a firearms possession. The New York Daily News reported that Bell sold crack cocaine twice to a confidential police informant . The two men that were injured by the police, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, had been arrested nine and three times, respectively, each having been arrested at least once for illegal firearm possession. Benefield was subsequently arrested during a gambling raid in Harlem, and again in September of 2007 for hitting a woman with whom he had a child. The latter arrest resulted in his pleading guilty to a lesser charge. As far as the shooting, the New York Post reported that Guzman had an argument inside a club with a woman and threatened to get a gun. One of Bell's friends was heard to say "yo, get my gun" as they left the scene. Fearing a shooting might occur, an undercover detective followed the men to their car while alerting his backup team, prompting the team to confront Bell and his companions before they could leave the scene. The undercover, plain-clothed officer ordered Bell to raise his hands after getting in his car. Instead, Bell accelerated the car and hit Gescard Isnora then an unmarked police minivan. A toxicology report reportedly showed that he was legally intoxicated at the time of the shooting. Two of the officers doing the shooting were black. All were found not guilty in the trial. Who do you believe, 3 men with 12 arrests between them, or the police?

    Jena: On December 4, 2006 17-year-old Justin Barker, a white Jena High School student, was assaulted at school by a group of black students. According to eyewitness testimony and the school and police investigations, someone hit Barker from behind, knocking him out, and then others began to kick and stomp him. The school superintendent stated that the attack was no ordinary schoolyard fight. "It was a premeditated ambush and attack by six students against one. The victim attacked was beaten and kicked into a state of bloody unconsciousness." The police arrested the six students, eventually dubbed the "Jena Six," accused of the attack. Five of them (Robert Bailey, Jr., Mychal Bell, Carwin Jones, Bryant Purvis, and Theo Shaw were charged with attempted second-degree murder. The sixth student, Jesse Rae Beard, was charged as a juvenile because he was 14 at the time. Mychal Bell, aged sixteen at the time of the incident, was charged as an adult. The district attorney has stated that he did so due to Bell's criminal record and because he believed Bell initiated the attack. Bell, was on probation for previous convictions. Purvis and Jones both had subsequent arrests for other assaults. Enter Sharpton, who somehow has the delusion that the 6 attackers were victims.

    Al Sharpton has consistently taken the side of black 'model citizens' like this. He's made a career of screeming racism where none exists. If he's the best leadership the black community has to offer, it's in deep, deep trouble.

    July 24, 2008 at 7:41 pm |
  22. EFW

    IIt's still black & white & asian & latin & itialian, & greek...WHAT"S up with you blacks wanting it ALL ABOUT YOU CONSTANTLY. We have WHITE Trash & Black Trash & Rich whites, blacks... I am not a racist, The only thing I am opposed is ILLEGAL vs LEGAL & HARDWORKING vs LAZY!!!!!!!!!!!! Cut the crap, we all get what we deserve, stop living in the past and thinking America has to be all Black...there are many nationalities. I am Italian....how about being Italian in America!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Get over yourselves...you have it all the football teams, the basketball teams, you have great singers....but you also have low lifes which all races & nationalities have.

    July 24, 2008 at 7:36 pm |
  23. Tiffani

    If education was a priority in our society then perhaps captitalistic tactics would be considered asinine. However let's think about where education lies in the list of things that are considered important to the average American born here, it's pretty low on the list. It's taken for granted and if society, and parents aren't valuing it, do you think children are going to think it's important? Kids see their parents working to get things, they understand the value of a dollar, and see people who can make lots of money without having an education. It's starts at home at what values you instill in your children. Think about the students that get a full tuition to a school because they can play a sport and the better they play the more things they are rewarded for, why? Because universities want to keep alumni happy so they keep getting money, does it matter whether that student can read above a 4th grade level or that he's been "passed" on by teachers over the years because they are a "star athlete". Nope. Education has been more about money and less about whether children are truly being educated. Look at those states where schools are graded based on standardized test scores, what's their reward-money depending on what grade the school earns.

    July 24, 2008 at 7:10 pm |
  24. phil Texas

    mike in ny
    remember the Tawana Brawley case about 17 years ago, AL SHARPTON, lied and tried to convict those white kids

    Can not trust them

    July 24, 2008 at 7:01 pm |
  25. phil Texas

    I agree with Wil,
    don't forget about Miss Black America, United Negro College Fund, etc

    July 24, 2008 at 6:50 pm |
  26. Rosie

    Oh, a country so blessed;yet filled with so much hate and discontentment, all because of a time, in history, which was not of our making.
    I am one who entered the doors marked White and Colored. I drank from the fountains marked White and Colored. I rode in the back of the bus, and was asked to sit in the back seats in the Theater.
    I attended all Black schools, but my best friend was a White girl, who lived next door.
    We got along like sisters. When my mother passed, it was her mother who took care of things until the doctor took over. What I am trying to say, is that we are each responsible for how we choose to characterize one another.
    From our own mindset we paint the picture of others, according to our own love,guilt, shame, envy, jealousy or lack of selt-esteem. You are, to me, what I, myself, choose you to be. If I choose to see good, then you are characterized as being a good person.
    If I choose to see you as evil, then you are characterized as being an evil person. Whether I be a fault finder or one whose love hides a multitude of faults, is my choice to make.
    Therefore I say to all, who will listen to my words, today, I am my own canvas, and I have chosen to be one whose love hides a multitude of faults. How can I love this country and not love the people that make up this country? Did not all of our ancestor's play a major part in providing such a beautiful country for the generations that followed?
    Therefore, when we all begin to see Obama through our heart's eye, rather than through our flesh eye, we will see that he is the President of the future, one who will, at long last, cut the umbilical cord which has kept us connected to the past. This is the change he represent.

    July 24, 2008 at 6:34 pm |
  27. Larry

    Rev. Sharpton,

    Why does it appear, at least on tv, that there are few to none female Pastors & Reverends heading black churches & are black leaders.
    Is there male dominance in the black religious community?

    July 24, 2008 at 6:20 pm |
  28. Tim

    Mr. Sharpton, I sincerely hope that with the coming of Barack Obama, you will slowly but inexorably fade from the spotlight. That is really putting it lightly by the way. And, so you know, I am black, so you cannot dismiss my comments as a white racist or something.

    I believe that we are in the beginning stages of something new in black America, and that is black people begnning to mentally take personal responsibility and accountability. The old, 1960, NAACP method of blaming our problems on the cops, and racism, etc., is fading, beause black people realize that it is meaningless drama that only allows people like you to parade in front of cameras and perpetuate your own importance. We also realize that it's a lie.

    I don't think you realize how much damage you have done, and people like you, like Jesse Jackson. All of your work and efforts come down to one central theme and result, and that is the idea that I, as a black man, am a victim - to the cops, to the government, to anyone who wants to raise a confederate flag, to any radio show host who makes some stupid comment, to basically anybody. What other possible conclusion can be drawn. Everytime you go out and highlight some individual incident involving the police or some other organization, and suceed in getting the incident splashed across the news, you victimize people thousands of miles away, who perhaps have never and will never be involved in anything similiar.

    When I talk to people who unfortunately make up the segment of black america who are having the hardest time rising above poverty, low self-esteem, criminal activity, etc., one of the most consistent attitudes I find is one of being a victim.

    The sad thing is that I think you and people like you do it on purpose, because victims need a champion, and you are that champion. Without victims where would you be.

    July 24, 2008 at 6:19 pm |
  29. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Mike in NY................

    Your statistics of 90% is a made up number by yourself................

    You do not see black men dragging white men down the street with their cars to their deaths..............or white men getting lynched or shot 50 times the day before their wedding by cops outside their bachelor party. White men are not handcuffed and tasered to death on their short journey to jail while in the police car. This is a small fraction of the kind of racism Sharpton, Jackson, and others stand up against, and we need them to do so. From one white guy to another.....................pick a topic you know something about.................

    July 24, 2008 at 6:10 pm |
  30. Curfew Gull

    To Eboni:

    I'm a "white" (actually I'm a brownish-peach colour) man and I view and treat blacks like anyone else. They have to earn my respect. White people have to earn my respect, hispanics have to earn my respect, as do asians, etc. By the same token, I should have to earn their respect. People who demand respect will never get it from me.

    What is white American like? Well, I feel extremely lucky that I was born white. I have an edge over most other people. If you are tall, white, and have blue eyes and live in America, you're a golden child. Lucky me. Woo hoo!

    July 24, 2008 at 6:09 pm |
  31. Larry

    Barack Obama has said that he will be the president of the united states of america; representing ALL americans EQUALLY, I'll take him at his word.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:47 pm |
  32. Maureen Borinski

    By the way...I was absolutely appalled to see on CNN last night that there are schools PAYING children in elementary school to learn!!!! What in God's name is this country coming to??? What happened to learning in order to better yourself, and encouraging your children to do the same? Children respond to positive praise...they shouldn't be taught that everything has a monetary reward connected to it!! This country has gone mad!

    July 24, 2008 at 5:39 pm |
  33. Maureen Borinski

    I will likely vote for Mr. Obama, and I do remember seeing the signs in public places in the South back in the 50's. But I am also sick to death of hearing about how tough it is to be black in America. It's like anything else....if you work hard and live by the rules, you can suceed. There are countless great black Americans in this country, but I believe as long as we continue to subsidize and coddle the minorities they will do nothing to better their lot in life. Many proud blacks are saying out loud what others have thought...take personal responsibility for your actions. If you fathered children support them, and be role models for them. If you are a black woman, have some self respect , and stop sleeping with multiple partners and producing offspring you can't nurture properly. In this day and age, there is no reason for indescriminant breeding. The absence of the real father figure in children's lives is not the fault of all of the other taxpayers of this country. Yet we are asked to foot the bill for these children and the children of illegal immigrants. Enough already with all of the excuses....all of us came from minorities at some point in America's history. The more this is covered in programs such as this the less they will do for themselves. I'd be interested in what the numbers are as far as viewers of this special programming. I know this will be one of the only nights I won't be watching Anderson 360. But I won't miss Lou Dobbs....get those illegals out of this country..and let in the ones following the rules.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:34 pm |
  34. Curfew Gull

    I think blacks should worry more about raising their kids right, then worrying about who hates them.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:28 pm |
  35. Eboni

    The question that I wish this show would ask is How does the white man view black people in America today? Is it as a 'nappy headed ho' as Imus infamously stated. What is it like being white america? I'd like to know, we need to see both sides of the coin.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:27 pm |
  36. Angela

    Wasn't at least one of the officers in the Bell case black??

    July 24, 2008 at 5:26 pm |
  37. Wil

    Why do black people constantly try to "stand out". Black in America, Congressional Black Caucus, Black Entertainment TV. Try being and AMERICAN.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:16 pm |
  38. Mike in NYC

    To: Sandra Pinto

    What do you have against "diversity"? What you are suggesting in your first post will destroy it forever.

    Your second post suggests that "racism" (a word I consider meaningless) is natural. I agree, in the sense that most people put their own kind first, and justifiably so.

    People would not have strong ingroup/outgroup sentiments if these feelings did not serve some purpose. Groups that do not have these feelings, or quell them because they judge them to be "wrong," are doomed to extinction.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:07 pm |
  39. Loretta from California

    The white people of today do not fell the anger that you all seem to feel and express all of the time – let it go! You are only hurting the new – young and FREE generation. Quit with your stupid views already!

    I'll let it go when racism no longer affects me and my family. Until then you'll just have to deal with it.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:04 pm |
  40. Melissa, Los Angeles

    You neglected to add that Sean Bell was in an unsavory part of town where violence, prostitution and drugs are very prevalent which necessitated undercover cops in that area – particularly the strip club he was in. Apparently him and his companions were uncooperative when confronted and from what I understand the officers involved were two African American men so don't turn this into a white on black issue. Let's see you address the black on black crime I read about everyday on the Homicide Report in the LA Times website.

    July 24, 2008 at 5:01 pm |
  41. hugh n.y.

    i know people don't want to hear this but, you will never have universal harmony between the races.it's not even a realistic
    "dream" regardless of who makes the speech. you can't even get people of the same race to get along. and that goes for every race. the best you can possibly and realisticly hope for is for individuals to find other individuals who they can love and trust, and hope like hell they don't come into conflict with individuals who intend to do them harm.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:48 pm |
  42. Sandra Pinto

    Racism will always rear it's ugly head as long as there is ignorance. Fundamentally all human beings are racist to a certain degree. Some people manifest it when they feel threatened, some people manifest it when they are threatened and some people manifest it to protect their interests so that they will not be threatened.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:14 pm |
  43. Sandra Pinto

    Barack Obama and people like him (of mixed origin) are the only hope for the future. The world is in the process of becoming one huge mixed race with combinations of all nations in the world. That I believe is the "yellow race" so often mentioned from the Bible. Only people of mixed origin can empathize and relate to people of the other race because they have this duality within themselves that is deep rooted and embedded in their psyche. The White and Black and Yellow races will eventually become the minority groups (already are in some instances) and people of mixed origin will rule the world THEN and Then only will nationalsim die and true and lasting peace will reign in the world. This is my firm conviction for a brave new world.

    July 24, 2008 at 4:07 pm |
  44. SCJ

    AMEN! ...

    "Nothing changes if nothing changes"
    – Rev. WP

    July 24, 2008 at 3:30 pm |
  45. Mike in NYC

    Sean Bell died due to the justifiable suspicions that cops of all races have when dealing with groups of young black males. If blacks did not have sky-high rates of violent crime, this incident would almost certainly not have happened.

    Jena was a fraud from start to finish. “Schoolyard fight”? Come again? Six blacks on one white is a "fight"? Craig Franklin, a Jena journalist and resident, has written a myth-by-myth refutation of the "official" version of the Jena case.

    "Malcolm X used to say if a man has a 6-inch knife in your back ..."

    90% of interracial crime is committed by non-whites against whites. Talk about the knife in your back....

    We here in NYC know all about Sharpton. 'Nuff said.

    July 24, 2008 at 3:15 pm |
  46. Tom Hunter

    Want to know one big reason that whites find it difficult to relate to blacks? Lemme give you some easy answers: Al Sharpton, Jesse Jackson, and any black preacher with an audience and a camera. These people claim to represent you – we find them boisterous, innane, and self-serving – not to mention who the hell knows how they earn a living if all they do is travel around the country and appear at rallies and press conferences. Those are your leaders, like it or not. For white America, the answer is the latter.

    July 24, 2008 at 2:58 pm |
  47. Kent Fitzsimmons,Kewanee, IL

    Barack Obama will help bring about that change and discussion that is needed. You cannot listen to Obama for any amount of time and not realize deep inside yourself that he speaks the truth. The change of direction of this nation is in the hands of all of us. We can choose hate, and sit back and let ourselves dwell in the scraps of what the Republican minority lets us have. Or we can stand up and decide that we want more for ourselves and our children. Look past the mud and fear that the GOP is slinging. Stand up for yourselves and your communities and choose the only logical choice for change.........

    Obama 08

    July 24, 2008 at 2:57 pm |