Al Sharpton had some terribly patronizing and unfortunate things to say about young activists recently in a Washington Post profile. Like this comment in response to his national youth director, Mary-Pat Hector, 17:
"The issue with my generation is we’re more about the Occupy organizing model," she told Sharpton now. "You know, everyone can be a leader, that kind of thing."
"I hear them saying that," Sharpton said. " ‘We don’t want Al Sharpton taking over our movement.’ But my question is: What movement? Y’all ain’t got nothing to take over."
"They want everything to rise from the ground up," Hector said.
"Fine, okay, but then tell me your strategy," Sharpton said. "You burned the building down. Great. Now what?"
Is there anyone else who can do all of this? Anyone other than me? Seriously, I’m talking about anyone else?"
This is what Sharpton was asking the next day, back in the hotel conference room, meeting again with the 25 community leaders from his National Action Network. The issue at hand was one Sharpton thought about often: Who, if anyone, was in place to become the next Al Sharpton? He wanted to invite some younger national leaders to join his vigil with the Garners on King Day, but he didn’t know whom to invite. "What ever happened to Ben Jealous?" Sharpton asked, referencing the former leader of the NAACP. "How about talented leadership in Chicago? Anyone good coming up behind Jesse in Chicago?"
Naturally, Sharpton’s comments have sparked outrage among younger generations of activists.
I. Don’t. Hate. Al. Sharpton. The way he performs justice work, however, is dangerous.
— deray mckesson (@deray) February 8, 2015