Kathryn Lopez

In 1995, a dispute broke out concerning Freddy's Fashion Mart on 125th Street in New York. The white, Jewish owner was accused of driving a black storeowner out of business. Sharpton held protests against him, and announced -- as protesters yelled about "bloodsuckers" -- that "there is a systemic and methodical strategy to eliminate our people from doing business off 125th Street. I want to make it clear ... that we will not stand by and allow them to move this brother so that some white interloper can expand his business." A Sharpton deputy announced: "We're going to see that this cracker suffers. Rev. Sharpton is on it." A protester, three months later, would walk in there with a pistol and burn the store down, killing eight. I wouldn't go so far as to blame the deaths directly on Sharpton, but he didn't help matters.

There's more, but this should be enough of a trip down memory lane for any reasonable person to wonder: Why does anyone listen to this man? Why does anyone go to him for guidance or healing or any other nonsense? Why don't Democrats ostracize him?

Paris Hilton seems willing to ask forgiveness, regretting the bad example she's setting for young girls. I'd sooner ask her for advice than Sharpton's.

Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.