Monday, February 26, 2007

Six Degrees of Segregation

Ever played the game, Six Degrees of Separation? It's the idea that if you trace relationships back by about 6 people, all people are somehow connected... usually by knowing a friend of a friend. Sound odd? I agree, but before you dismiss the theory, you've got to hear this: "Rev." Al Sharpton and the late Sen. Strom Thurmond are connected!

The news is reporting that genealogists have traced Sharpton's ancestors all the way back to a slave owned by the Thurmond family. In a very interesting providence of the Lord, Al Sharpton's great-grandfather was a slave owned by Strom Thurmond's great-great-grandfather. Thus, two men who you would have never guessed to be connected in any way actually are. And isn't it interesting that these two men are worlds apart? Or are they?

Thurmond, the beloved Senator from South Carolina, was a staunch segregationist for much of his life. He ran for president in 1948 over the issue of segregation. In this campaign he said, "I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there's not enough troops in the army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches." Racist? Absolutely. It's sad that this man had such disdain for another race of people. This is sin. I must condemn this sin, even though I do respect the overall legacy of Sen. Thurmond.

Sharpton, Civil Rights activist and Pentecostal preacher, is what we would consider the polar opposite of Thurmond. But is that true? Let me give you a few cases from Mr. Sharpton's file. In 1987, a black girl in Wappingers Falls, New York accused six white men of raping her, smearing feces on her, and leaving her in a garbage bag. Enter Sharpton... he hyped up the racial tension of the incident. The final verdict was that this was all a hoax, but Sharpton still refuses to admit this truth. In 1991, a black child was accidentally killed by a car full of Hasidic Jews. Enter Sharpton... he called the Jews "diamond merchants" and said, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house." In 1995, a Jewish landlord in Harlem raised the rent on a black store owner. Enter Sharpton... who said, "We will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business."
Now, are these the comments of a man interested in peace between the races? No. Instead, this is a racist man who wants to divide and segregate the races as much as possible.
Strom and Al, connected centuries ago by the racist institution of slavery and connected today by their racist, divisive comments.
Maybe these two men have more in common than we thought...

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