Local Politics | Politics | State Politics

Detroit EM: Sharpton group's recycled race rant

Detroit News Photo

Detroit’s murder rate is 52 per 100,000 residents. Detroit’s adult illiteracy rate is 49 percent. It’s unemployment rate, nearly 20 percent. Its pension and debt obligations eat up 42 percent of its budget, squeezing out essential services. It has 38,000 blighted buildings.

So on Monday hundreds of protestors with Al Sharpton’s National Action Network vowed “civil disobedience” . . . to Governor Snyder Snyder’s black emergency manager in front to Cobo Hall.

Ummm. Come again?

“It’s obvious that race played into this decision,” Rev. Charles Williams III, the head of the Michigan affiliate of Sharpton’s group, told The Daily Caller. “Obviously [Orr] is a black proxy for the governor. . . this is an obvious opportunity for Snyder to utilize this man as an Uncle Tom, quite frankly.”

Kevyn Orr’s race was surely a factor in his selection – a black EM for a majority black city – and his history as a lawyer with close connections to America’s first black president didn’t hurt either. Only Sharpton’s race industry could twist that into a negative.

The protesters seem stuck in a time warp even as the problems threatening black Detroit – unemployment, drugs, and family breakdown – are not racial.

“Maybe we won’t take it to the level of the ’60s riots, but this thing is escalating,” Williams said, confirming Sharpton’s personal interest in the protests and pointedly demonstrating outside Detroit’s KingSolomonBaptistChurch where Malcolm X delivered his 1963 “Message to the Grassroots” speech.

A powerful black lawyer coming to Detroit’s rescue would have been a dream of the 1960s civil rights movement. That that is a heresy today shows just how far Sharpton & Co. have strayed from Dr. King’s ideas.

Henry Payne
Henry Payne is the auto critic for The Detroit News. A 25-year newspaper veteran, Payne is also a Pulitzer Prize-nominated cartoonist with United Feature Syndicate, a former columnist and editorial writer for The News, and a contributor to The Wall Street Journal, New York Post, and other publications. His auto reviews appear every Thursday in the Drive section.