The stone that the builders rejected has become the chief cornerstone. This is the Lord's doing; it is marvelous in our eyes. Psalm 118:22-23 NRSV

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Dunbar Village and Rev. Al

Those of you who pay attention to the Black blogosphere are probably familiar with the heinous and violent crime perpetrated last summer on a Black woman and her son in Dunbar Village, a low-income, high-crime neighborhood West Palm Beach, FL. (If you're not, click here.) Especially if you read one of my favorite sites What About Our Daughters, you also know that repeated invitations went out to Rev. Al Sharpton and the local NAACP to get involved in righting the wrongs continuously perpetrated on the people of color who live in Dunbar Village without proper lighting or policing and are therefore left prey to the violent, pernicious whims of predators, resident and non-resident, adult and juvenile.

Now that you're up to date, let me tell you the latest. While stumping in FL to prevent the seating of that state's Democratic delegates, whose presence in Denver could potentially determine the Democratic nominee, Rev. Al took a moment to speak out about Dunbar Village. No, he did not finally come to his senses and offer support to the victim and her son. Rather, he joined the local NAACP in protesting the denial of bail to the four "boys" accused of the vicious rape.

What in the world is wrong with our so-called Black leaders? Why are they always falling over themselves to take up the cause of accused criminals? I too am a believer in the presumption of innocence for purposes of mandating a fair trial. The accused have a right to trial and to adequate representation during said trial. But my limited knowledge of the law (from watching Law and Order)and my common sense teach me that certain crimes are so heinous that the public interest is best served by the accused remaining in jail until trial. Leave these four probable perps in lockup and give them a speedy trial so that if they are not the actual perps we find that out quickly. But if they are the actual perps, then I don't want them to ever see the light of day on the outside again. They are without a conscience.

People, it serves no JUST cause to have all of the advocacy on the side of the ACCUSED and no advocacy for the VICTIMS. If Dunbar Village wasn't Rev. Al's thing in the fall when the whole community was placed in danger because those conscienceless criminals were on the loose, then Dunbar Village should not be Rev. Al's thing now. The fact that accused white rapist are out on bail in Boca is immaterial. When will our community learn that it is dangerous to advocate for wrongdoers uncritically? While it was surely a miscarriage of justice to charge the the Jena 6 with attempted murder, it was also wrong not to hold them accountable for the assault on the white kid, no matter how much that assault was provoked by insurgent racism in the Jena community. Now that one of the kids has been subsequently charged with another assault, the whole marching community has egg on its face.

Now that this post has a "...and the kitchen sink" quality to it, let me get to the real point. Obviously, as Renita Weems and others are pointing out, the time has come for us as Black women to defend our own selves and our own interests. That's what this post is all about. I am standing up in this post to join all the other sisters who are tired of having our lives, interests, and even bodies thrown under the proverbial bus of Black protest and progress. I love Black men because they are a part of our larger community. But the time has come for sisters to love only the brothers who love us back. Those brothers we should love hard and well. The others, like Rev. Al, can go back to the hell from which their sexist, demeaning, woman-hating ideologies and actions came.

7 comments:

TalentedTenth said...


What in the world is wrong with our so-called Black leaders?


is he really considered a black leader? what does he do outside of these little protests and such? does anyone really take him seriously? my answers would be: Nope, Not a darn thing, and Ehhhhhh, No!

i usually distrust any man at that age still walking around with a perm. he is a disgrace and a media hungry buffoon.

i appreciate those in the black blogosphere for bringing attention to things that the MSM would otherwise ignore. i agree that we as women need to not only stand up for ourselves, but our fellow sisters as well. but i think a major hindrance to that endeavor is the fact that there is so much strife between women, and black women in particular. if we can't get along amongst one another, how can we expect others (such as our black men) to have our backs

[and yes, i am talking to myself, too...you know what i am referring to :-) ]

SheCodes said...

Hi Leslie,

Symphony said that you would like to help us stop this madness. Please email us at the following address:

info *at* blackwomensnetwork *dot* c o m

J-Laz said...

Well, I'm going to have to respectfully disagree with the assertion that Rev. Al Sharpton is wholly a sexist, and demeaning. For the most part I agree with him, now every once in a while I don't, and this is one of those times. I think this comes off as a slap in the face because the victims are black and one of them is a black woman. I mean, black men should be knocking others over in order to defend and protect black women.

I think that this is a DEFINITE lapse in judgment from Rev. Al Sharpton.

I guess its hard for me totally condemn him, because I do believe that through the National Action Network a lot of good has and will continue to come about. (Sidenote about Jena 6: My support was in favor of fairness of accusation, and I believe that was achieved.) Now as a seminary student I've had some discussions with some of my female classmates who consider themselves to be in the womanist tradition and one of them told me male patriarchs are going to have to realize and give up power in order for women to realized in full equality. I gave her more of a Frederick Douglass response, "Power concedes nothing without a demand: it never did and it never will." So I'm all for women empowering themselves and speaking for themselves and defining themselves through their own unique experiences in relationship to themselves as opposed to defining themselves through the lens of patriarchy.

That being said, if the roles were reversed, it would beg the thought that whoever is in power does not want to readily or easily give up such power. So when you have someone such as myself who is a young black male, we stumble sometimes and I thank the women who are around me who are conscious enough to realize that in my list of my favorite preachers that had quickly rattled off one time, none of them were women.

So, I'm asking for the sisters to see this one as a lapse in judgement. And definitely not something that is definitive of much of Al Sharpton's work in the larger black community.

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