Stop Trolling Erica Garner and Other Black People Over Al Sharpton - We Know Who the Real Enemies Are

A right-wing group secretly captured Eric Garner’s daughter and others on a heavily edited undercover video suggesting that Rev. Al Sharpton’s activism is motivated primarily by money.

In the video, an offscreen interviewer asks Garner's daughter Erica Snipes, “You think Al Sharpton is kind of like a crook in a sense?,” to which Snipes replies, “He is all about this,” rubbing her fingers together to symbolize money.

Project Veritas, which dubs itself as “Investigative Film Journalists,” asks Snipes and other family members and supporters of slain black people whom Sharpton’s National Action Network has supported questions about the Harlem-based activist’s sincerity.

During the near eight-minute video, Snipes also criticizes the head of the National Action Network’s Staten Island Branch, Cynthia Davis, for allegedly chastising Snipes for  using flyers during an Eric Garner protest that did not bear the organization’s name.

“Al Sharpton paid for the funeral,” Snipes is seen saying in the video. “She’s trying to make me feel like I owe them,” she says, referring to Davis.

Tracy Martin, father of slain teen Trayvon Martin, is captured on the video saying that Sharpton is “on his own personal mission.” No context for that comment is provided, not even the question posed to him.

What is troubling about this “investigation” is that Project Veritas did Snipes and others on the film far more harm than good. For one, the grumblings that Sharpton is a “shakedown artist” are nothing new and have been heard for years. Also, the “investigation” proved nothing. There was no smoking gun that directs the viewer to any fraudulent behavior by Sharpton or his associates.  

“It’s is very interesting that they, when they reached the people in the video, the people contradicted what was in the video,” Sharpton told CBS News referring to the New York Post’s story on the video. “My response is it’s a headline of a story that they contradict in their own article.”

“Not only do I think the video was taken out of context, there is nobody in that video that said I did anything with money,” he continued. “The New York Post has more explaining to do than I do in this case.”

Yep, he is correct.

In an interview with the New York Post, Snipes denied calling Sharpton a financial opportunist saying, “No, I didn’t say that I think Al Sharpton is all about the money.”

There will be lots of back and forth over mischaracterizations from the subjects recorded in the video but the bottom line is that what Project Veritas makes is dishonest and crappy journalism that does damage to people in pain. Though Sharpton has gone on record defending Snipes, we have no idea what strains Snipes conversation, which she mostly likely believed was private, could cause between her and Sharpton's group.

And when someone goes undercover to unearth wrongdoing, you would hope they turn up damning evidence that can prove people were truly being abused by a very awful person. The world is not a better place for African Americans because of Project Veritas’ “investigation.” It did nothing more than add to a “You Know That Al Sharpton Is a Crook” gossip column.

Moreover, Project Veritas’ actions amount to the trolling of black pain. There are plenty of activists who have taken to Twitter and other platforms to criticize Sharpton and have no problem accepting the fallout that can potentially follow for doing so. No one seems to have given permission to speak candidly on video about Sharpton. The video also amounts to surveillance of black lives, something that our community has endured for years and needs less of, not more of.

To be clear, I am not cheerleading for Sharpton. I am not a fan of his politics, nor do I benefit from any relationship with him, directly or indirectly. But what I find troubling about these “investigations” to “expose” Sharpton is that none of them have led to any indictable actions against him. Sharpton is a lot of things to a lot of people, but one thing he is not is Enemy Number One of black people. That honor would go to white supremacy and those who benefit from it.

Black people do not need groups like Project Veritas “investigating” Sharpton.

An investigation into police brutality, racism in hiring and other forms of racism that truly hurt black people is more useful than a trolling, voyeuristic video that reveals nothing more than recycled allegations that black folks have been speaking to each other about for decades. But there is one more way I can describe this video: a distraction.

Nice try, Project Veritas. This video may generate a few clicks for your site but it certainly won’t divert activists on the streets from focusing on their real enemy.

And it certainly isn’t Rev. Al Sharpton.

Their propaganda video is here. expand=1]


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