Al Sharpton is well-known as one of the key faces of the modern day civil rights movement — a cause recently bolstered by a string of high-profile cases of police shooting or otherwise fatally harming of black men. Al himself has been accused by his critics of being a “race baiter” throughout his career, and a recent Washington Post profile has his detractors once again underlining another one of their common complaints about Sharpton: self-importance.
In the piece, Al is depicted going through his day-to-day life, which largely consists of staying firmly in the public eye. The profile opens with Sharpton irritatedly flipping through Twitter, seeing that he hasn’t made news for more than 13 hours. Whether that commitment is due to Al’s dedication to his cause or to his own celebrity is up to personal interpretation, but at least some readers walked away from Sharpton’s profile with the impression that Al is more concerned about the latter.
@deray this is all quoted in the WaPo article?
— CURBSIDE PROPHET (@NeonTreezz) February 8, 2015
“Am I letting him down? Have I been too caught up in satisfying my own vanity? My ego?” – #SharptonSays Yes, you have.
— Nessa. (@curlyheadRED) February 8, 2015
One particular point of controversy that Sharpton has been embroiled in involves his criticism of other protest movements, particularly in Ferguson, Missouri. Al Sharpton feels the protests were not as effective as those carried out beneath his own brand. Sharpton repeatedly belittled the work of other protest movements throughout the profile, going as far as to say that he “was the one families call” when tragedy strikes.
— ShordeeDooWhop (@Nettaaaaaaaa) February 8, 2015
Uproar over Al’s comments certainly hasn’t gone unnoticed, even in the brief time since the Sharpton article’s publication. In addition to takedowns by conservative sites like Newsbusters and Twitchy, the Post itself has also put together an article summarizing the negative Twitter reactions to Al’s comments. One such organizer, Charles Wade, said that while he respects Sharpton’s work, the current generation is able to do much more effective activism in a shorter period of time.
Sharpton represents the reformists. There are many. We represent the revolutionaries. That’s what he and his kind can’t take.
— Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) February 8, 2015
That’s the generational divide. We are pass reform. We want and need transformational leadership. We want fresh ideas and alternatives. — Charles Wade (@akacharleswade) February 8, 2015
How do you feel about Al Sharpton’s comments in the Washington Post profile?
[Image via PixGood]