Why it's wrong for the right to blame Sharpton for 'knockout game'

OPINION - For conservative commentators who frequently lambast Reverend Al Sharpton for being a race hustler they were sure quick to request his help with this new manufactured crisis supposedly sweeping the nation...

Luther Vandross was outed as gay after his death.

In the 1980s, they called it “wilding.”  These days random acts of violence committed by black teens is called “The Knockout Game.”

According to the mainstream media, this new game is sweeping the nation, and out-of-control black teenagers are a threat to any and everyone, but even more so to white people they may pass on the street.  The rules of this new so-called trend require that the teen select a random person on the street and then walk up and attempt to “knock out” the stranger with a single punch.   While incredibly disturbing, there is no evidence that the problem is widespread.

Just as they did with “wilding” and the Central Park Five in the 1980s, the media is yet again sensationalizing violence committed by black teens to create white panic in households nationwide.  The focus of the coverage with regards to the game is that they are random and anyone could be a victim of these out-of-control black teens.

And of course, because race and politics go hand and hand, some conservative commentators have called on the Reverend Al Sharpton to stop or comment on the new trend.

There was even a recent segment on Fox News with the chyron, “Where’s Al Sharpton on this?”

For conservative commentators who frequently lambast Reverend Al Sharpton for being a race hustler, they were sure quick to request his help with this new manufactured crisis supposedly sweeping the nation.

Former Congressman Allen West also called out Sharpton by name, saying on Fox News:

This is what’s going to end up happening: At some point in time, one of the people that’s going to be attacked is going to have a concealed weapons license and they’re going to draw down and unfortunately someone’s going to get shot. Then what is going to happen you’re going to hear all of the rhetoric coming out from the Al Sharptons and Jesse Jacksons that this unarmed black teenager was shot and killed and assaulted when right now they should be out there stopping this so we don’t get to this point.”

West’s implication is that there could be another Trayvon Martin because a black teen will attempt to knock out someone with a gun who will then have no choice but to shoot them.  Of course, West’s comparison is ridiculous and based on the notion that since black teens are inherently dangerous, Trayvon Martin or any black teen that is shot must have been engaged in some type of violent behavior that resulted in their death.

And of course, after Reverend Sharpton did comment on the trend, saying this weekend at the weekly National Action Network, “Kids are randomly knocking out people [from] another race — some specifically going at Jewish people.  This kind of insane thuggery — there is nothing cute about that. There is no game play about knocking somebody out, and it is not a game. It is an assault and is bias, and it is wrong.”

Reverend Sharpton doubled down on his condemnation of the “knockout game” on the Monday night broadcast of PoliticsNation, calling the game “deplorable,” “foolish,” and “unacceptable,” and he also encouraged entertainers and celebrities to speak out against the game to dissuade teens from participating.

The focus on Reverend Sharpton is peculiar.  Does a white representative have to put out a press release after every school shooting or random act of violence committed by young white males?  The lack of awareness is astounding. Black people are not a monolith, and the Reverend Al Sharpton was not elected to be the president of black people at the annual African-American Convention (To be clear: No such convention exists)

No such singular leader exists within Black America nor do the actions of some teens represent the behavior of black young people at large.  Reverend Al Sharpton couldn’t stop this faux trend called the “knockout game” any more than Rush Limbaugh could stop school shootings, and it’s ridiculous that Reverend Sharpton is expected to.

Follow Zerlina Maxwell on Twitter at @ZerlinaMaxwell.