The Rev. Al Sharpton is getting the right kind of grief.

This time it's not from conservatives for being a race hustler who exploits every white-on-black killing to raise money for his civil rights group National Action Network or to boost his miserable ratings on MSNBC.

This time Sharpton is being criticized by other blacks — liberal blacks — who didn't like the tough sermon he preached at Michael Brown's funeral on Monday.

Sharpton's fiery eulogy was not the familiar Gospel of the Rev. Al.

Sure, he quoted the Bible and criticized Ferguson police for allowing a young black man's body to lie in the middle of the street for more than four hours.

But after calling for major reforms in policing, Sharpton pulled a switcheroo. He pointedly condemned the violence and rioting that came in response to Brown's death.

Then he surprised everyone in the church by bringing up a subject that too few black leaders — particularly the part-time one in the White House — are brave enough to bring up on a public stage.

Sharpton said blacks have to take responsibility for the chronic violence and bad behavior in their community that creates so much police attention in the first place.

"We have to be outraged at a 9-year-old girl killed in Chicago. We have got to be outraged by our disrespect for each other, our disregard for each other, our killing and shooting and running around gun-toting each other..."

As Sharpton said, "Blackness has never been about being a gangster or a thug." It has been about rising up, fighting against discrimination, building churches and black colleges and succeeding in life and never giving up.

"And now," he said, "we get to the 21st century, we get to where we've got some positions of power. And you decide it ain't black no more to be successful. Now, you want to be a n----- and call your woman a 'ho.' You've lost where you're coming from."

The Rev. Al's critics say the issue of black-on-black crime is irrelevant to Brown's death. Brown was shot by a white cop, not another young black male, they argue.

BS, I say. Sharpton was right to use a national pulpit to challenge black leaders to address the black-on-black killing spree that has been decimating the youth of our inner cities for decades.

Have you ever heard of Dorval Jenkins, Marcus McCarty or Antonio Smith?

They're just three of the 26 murder victims in Chicago since Aug. 9, the day Brown was killed in suburban Ferguson.

All but one or two of the 26 dead Chicagoans were young black males. All but one or two were shot to death deliberately or by accident by other black males.

Jenkins was 19. McCarty was 14. Antonio Smith, deliberately gunned down by local gangsters in a dead-end alley for unknown reasons, was 9.

Al Sharpton didn't show up at their funerals. Neither did Spike Lee or Snoop Dogg. Neither did several underlings from the White House. Neither did Brian Williams and Anderson Cooper.

Black-on-black gang murders are too common. They're not news. So they don't bring good ratings or network camera teams.

It's great to see the Rev. Al's call for blacks to man-up and address the violence and gang culture that's destroying their community and tainting their entire race.

Now, if he's really serious, he needs to take it to the streets and churches of Chicago.

Whether the cameras follow him there or not.

 

Michael Reagan is the son of President Ronald Reagan and a political consultant.