By Jared Chausow
By Katie Toth
By Elizabeth Flock
By Albert Samaha
By Anna Merlan
By Jon Campbell
By Jon Campbell
By Albert Samaha
Last Saturday, I sat riveted to my chair in Al Sharpton's House of Justice listening to the black activist read the Harlem riot act to the two-tongued Democrat, who many blacks now believe stole the mayoral runoff election from Fernando Ferrer. Sharpton, his jowly cheeks pouted in characteristic bullfrog ire, accused Green of remaining silent while racial alarmistswhite editorial writers, columnists, and cartoonistsportrayed him as the man who would be the real power behind the mayoralty if Ferrer were to win.
The day after the election, Green, according to black activists and political leaders, launched a half-hearted attempt to repudiate the Sharptonphobia and reject the racialization of New York. His plea to people close to Sharpton is intended to get the angry kingmaker to put aside hurt feelings and come out in support of him against Republican nominee Michael Bloomberg.
But blacks like me are too traumatized by the racism that Green failed to put in check. We don't hug and make up that easily, bro. It's like being raped by a great uncle: You don't ever want to embrace the scumbag again.
When I saw my sista friendsthe term-limited City Councilmember Una Clarke, and her daughter Yvette, who will take her placesmiling and walking the streets with Green after his tainted victory, I lost it. Why are they, including my brothersformer mayor David Dinkins, Eric Adams of 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement Who Care, and Assemblyman Denny Farrellstill bootlickin' and buckdancin' for Green?
Those African Americansall 29 percent of them who gave Green the edge over Ferrershould sit out next month's election in protest. Force Green to rely on the 66 percent of whites and 60 percent of Jews who swept his main African American backer, Dinkins, into office in 1989. Blacks like me, however, should isolate Green. We should not invite him into our 'hoods or houses of worship. Avoid him like white anthrax powder.
As Al Sharpton whipped the crowd into an anti-Mark Green frenzythreatening to sit on the sidelines and watch the battle between two Jewish candidatesI felt vindicated.
For several years, long before a politically hungry Sharpton dined on bagels and croissants at Green's home, I remember warning Sharpton that Green was a phony white liberal who would some day turn against us niggaz. Shortly before Sharpton ran for the Senate in 1993, he and I argued bitterly over Green. I said that the "honky with hubris"my code name for Greenshould not be trusted. Sharpton balked. Such rhetoric, he cautioned, might be construed as racist; I was not to repeat that ugly phrase in his presence.
Sharpton, who boasts it is not in his DNA to be an Uncle Tom, had matured. In the ensuing years, he flatly rejected my "talking black" approach to Green's brand of liberalism, frowning on epithets he believed to be divisive. I perhaps was the first to realize that the Baptist preacher had had an epiphany about race.
Sharpton later would buy into David Dinkins's vision of the city as a "gorgeous mosaic" and desire to be part of the ethnic tapestry. He wanted to embrace the two New Yorksa tactic, he asserted, that would help shed his image as a racial polarizer. He took the high road, cutting a wide swath that seemed to distance him from the racial politics of the past. Suddenly, he was forming formidable alliances with Jewish politicians like former Mayor Ed Koch, who'd heretofore resented his bawdy style of black advocacy, but now touted him as a conciliator.
Mark Green was one of the politicians who began to exploit Sharptonmania. This spring, Green and his wife took Sharpton and his wife to the opening performance of Judgment at Nuremberg, a Broadway play about the Holocaust. At the same time Green was trying to kosher Sharpton, he was riding his coattails to popularity in the African American community. During my in-your-face quarrels with Sharpton over Green, he never once flip-flopped on his opinion that Green was an "inherently decent" individual. In light of Green's frontline battle to stamp out racial profiling and loud rebuke of brutal cops, Sharpton praised him as a civil rights leader who'd saddled himself with the task of liberating African Americans from Giuliani's political stranglehold.
But where was Green's outrage when the bigots were gangbanging Sharpton and the Latino kid who grew up playing stickball on Fox Street?
Al Sharpton's criticsegged on by Mark Green's negative eleventh-hour advertising blitzplayed on the unfounded fears of whites and Jews; fears that ultimately robbed Fernando Ferrer of his dream of occupying Gracie Mansion. In the run-up to the October 11 runoff, media henchmen with alleged ties to Green or his operatives bombarded Sharpton daily with a barrage of stinking satire that reeked of racism.
The New York Post led the attack. On October 4, the Page Six cartoonist, who'd depicted Sharpton as the master puppeteer and Bozo the Clown, delivered the ultimate insult. A grotesquely caricatured Sharpton had ballooned: The Svengali is bending over backward while the impish, frail-looking Ferrer licks his fat ass. "You're the best Freddy, the very best!!!" Sharpton responds. Says Ferrer, "Thanks boss." Two days later, on Page Six, Ferrer, the puppet in the "Al and Freddy Show," is sitting on the lap of his obese ventriloquist. "Let me assure you that Freddy Ferrer is his own man," the dummy Ferrer proclaims.