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Because of course he has all the answers.
When the headline of your column is "What's Missing In Ferguson, MO", you're not off to a great start. Because you're already setting yourself up as the person who has all the answers that the people in Ferguson obviously can't figure out for themselves.

But let's see what Mr. Epstein diagnoses, shall we?

He says that what's "missing" is the absence of "the calming voice of a national civil-rights leader of the kind that was so impressive during the 1950s and '60s."

Go on.

In those days there was Martin Luther King Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference; Roy Wilkins of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Whitney Young of the National Urban League, Bayard Rustin of the A. Philip Randolph Institute—all solid, serious men, each impressive in different ways, who through dignified forbearance and strategic action, brought down a body of unequivocally immoral laws aimed at America's black population.
"Dignified forbearance".

Oh really?

I seem to recall reading about a Dr. King that was all about action.

And notice who's missing?

Medgar Evers and Malcom X.

I wonder why?

But let's see what else Mr. Epstein has to say, shall we?

Oh yes. The usual.

First, there's the tried and true "attack Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton".

Has it occurred to Mr. Epstein that they say the same things over and over because things really haven't changed all that much? Makes me wonder how they would be treating Dr. King had he not been taken from us.

Then he mentions that the organizations exist, but no one knows who the leaders are. Why? Because "no black leader has come forth to set out a program for progress for the substantial part of the black population that has remained for generations in the slough of poverty, crime and despair."

Then he goes on to say he lives in Chicago. Well, you can guess what's coming next. He goes through the list of the "what's needed" tropes--jobs, education, get the guns off the street, etc. He even dredges up the "Black Father" meme.

But this word salad paragraph is not his point.

I'll let his words speak for themselves:

The older generation of civil-rights leaders proved its mettle through physical and moral courage. The enemy was plain—rear-guard segregationists of the old South—and the target was clear: wrongful laws that had to be, and were, rescinded. The morality of the matter was all on these leaders' side. In Little Rock, in Montgomery, in Selma and elsewhere, they put their lives on the line. And they won.

The situation today for a civil-rights leader is not so clear, and in many ways more complex. After the victories half a century ago, civil rights may be a misnomer. Economics and politics and above all culture are now at the heart of the problem. Blacks largely, and inexplicably, remain pledged to a political party whose worn-out ideas have done little for them while claiming much. Slipping off the too-comfortable robes of victimhood is essential, as is discouraging everything in ghetto culture that has dead-end marked all over it. The task is enormous, the person likely to bring it off, a modern-day Moses able to lead his people out of the desert, nowhere in sight. Until that person or persons arrives, we can expect more nights like those in Ferguson, with cries of racism, with looters and bottom-feeders turning up, with sadness all round.  (emphasis mine)

He just can't help himself. He HAS to slip into the talking points of the right wing. All the buzzwords are there: Implied dependence, "Victimhood", "Race baiting" and "Playing the Race Card", "Ghetto culture".

I'll add one more thing. He says his "ideal" Black leader must also be "acceptable" to the White Middle-Class who understands that "progress for Blacks is progress for the entire country"

What?

Leaders must meet YOUR approval?

Here's a clue: The reason Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton still get the following they do is that they are leaders who the people they're leading accept. The only "approval" or "acceptance" a leader needs is from those he or she is leading.

Dr. King FORCED the establishment to accept him. His leadership mobilized the community and his actions mobilized millions.

And he did not back down.

4:56 PM PT: As I posted on my Facebook page, What would Doctor King do? Lead civil disobedience by breaking the curfew.


Originally posted to zenbassoon on Sun Aug 17, 2014 at 04:42 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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