Rev. Al Sharpton’s Poor Record on Racial Profiling


By: Elizabeth Marion

The Arizona immigration law has sparked a lot of controversy amid accusations of racial profiling. And where people are protesting racial profiling, Rev. Sharpton will usually show up. In a statement he said “The Arizona immigration bill is an affront to the civil rights of all Americans and an attempt to legalize racial profiling.” In the very next sentence he describes himself as “one who has helped to make racial profiling a national issue”. Yes, the reverend does take time out of his busy schedule to tackle the issue of racial profiling, but only when it suits his agenda. Rev. Al Sharpton cannot be taken seriously as an opponent to what he views as racial profiling when he is someone who has advocated for racial profiling in the past.

Rev. Sharpton has been a vocal supporter of affirmative action for years, which is a system that requires the use of racial
profiling. The whole purpose of affirmative action is to ensure that the appropriate level of diversity is reached in the classroom,
office, etc. This can only be done by looking at racial quotas. It is physically impossible to enforce affirmative action without racially profiling people. When people are then turned away because there is already ‘enough’ of their race present it becomes racism.

If affirmative action racially profiles people and is racist one would think someone like Rev. Sharpton would be against it considering
his reaction to the Arizona immigration law. The truth is that he has always been a supporter of affirmative action, or in other words, the system that uses racism to fight racism.

In 2004 at the Iowa Brown and Black Presidential Forum, which I’m sure does not engage in racial profiling at all, he said to Governor Dean “If you want to lecture people on race, you ought to have the background and track record in order to do that”. To add some context, he was complaining that the Governor did not have enough diversity in his cabinet, viewing the situation through nothing but the spectrum of race, as always. At the same event he also said “We don’t need people talking to whites. We need people to do something about racism and discrimination.” It is no wonder that so many will assume that a white person is racist simply because they are white. Rev. Sharpton is not someone who is fighting inequality and racial divides. He is making
racial divides worse. He makes every issue about race, which generally includes a bit of racial profiling, from employment to education to how many black people are in a Governor’s cabinet. It should not be the duty of a Governor or any employer to racially profile in order to achieve the diversity that people like Rev. Sharpton will deem appropriate.

In 2006, Rev. Sharpton spoke at the Yale Political Union. According to the Washington Post he “vigorously defended affirmative
action and criticized conservatives who seek to ban the use of race and gender preferences”. Race preferences are okay with Rev. Sharpton as long as they are used according to his terms. It’s only unacceptable when it comes to enforcing laws. How could anyone who truly believes that racial profiling is wrong oppose the ban of race preferences? Rev. Sharpton does not oppose racial profiling. He opposed racial profiling that does not meet his own standards and his own expectations.

This level of hypocrisy and irony should no longer be shocking to anyone. Rev. Sharpton is not the only one who claims to support
affirmative action and also be firmly against racial profiling. Americans should stop allowing themselves to be lectured on racism by those who are racist. Does Rev. Al Sharpton even take his own words seriously?