Civility, Rev. Al? In 1991, when a 7-year-old black child was accidentally killed in Crown Heights after a car driven by a Hasidic Jew went out of control, Sharpton led 400 protesters through the Jewish neighborhood. There were four nights of rock and bottle throwing. A young Talmudic scholar was surrounded by a mob shouting, "Kill the Jew," and stabbed to death. After deriding Jews as "diamond merchants," Sharpton said, "If the Jews want to get it on, tell them to pin their yarmulkes back and come over to my house."Civility, Rev. Al? The Jewish owner of Freddy's Fashion Mart in Harlem raised the rent on a black sub-tenant. At one of the many rallies designed to frighten the owner, Sharpton called him a "white interloper." Following a demonstration three months later, one of the protestors, a black man, stormed Freddy's Fashion Mart with a pistol, screaming: "It's on now! All blacks out!" In addition to shooting, he set fire to the building, eventually killing himself and seven others.
Initially, Sharpton denied having spoken at any rallies and refused to accept any responsibility for poisoning the atmosphere. When tapes surfaced showing Sharpton speaking, he said, "What's wrong with denouncing white interlopers?" Eventually, he apologized -- for saying "white," but not for saying "interloper."
Sharpton refuses to apologize for Tawana Brawley. He assumes liberal bias will prevent the media from asking him about Brawley. Or, he will accuse them of racism if they do: "I did what I believed. ... They are asking me to grovel. They want black children to say they forced a black man coming out of the hardcore ghetto to his knees. ... Once you begin bending, it's, 'Did you bend today?' or: 'I missed the apology. Say it again.' Once you start compromising, you lose respect for yourself."
In other words, falsely and unapologetically accusing a white man of raping a black teenage girl is no barrier to hosting a talk show on MSNBC or lecturing the nation on civility.
Rush Limbaugh twice apologized to the Georgetown law student for calling her a slut. Sharpton has never apologized for calling Steven Pagones a rapist.