A former leader in the NAACP is warning that attention is being paid to the death of Trayvon Martin for reasons other than justice. Rev. C.L. Bryant says national figures such as Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson are “exploiting” the Trayvon Martin tragedy to racially divide this country.”
The death of the 17 year old Martin has captured growing national attention as even the President has weighed in to comment on the issue. George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain in Tampa FL, shot and killed an unarmed Trayvon Martin last month.
Zimmerman claimed to have shot Martin in self-defense and authorities have not charged him with a crime.
Bryant, a conservative black pastor who was once the chapter president of the Garland, Texas NAACP accused both Sharpton and Jackson of being “race hustlers” and “acting as though they are buzzards circling the carcass of this young boy.”
He also criticized President Obama for his “nebulous statement” responding to Martin’s death that “if I had a son, he’d look like Trayvon.” “What does that mean?” Bryant asked. “What was the purpose in that?”
In and interview Monday Bryant said the slain youth’s “family should be outraged at the fact that they’re using this child as the bait to inflame racial passions.” He pointed to Jesse Jackson’s assertion the killing illustrated how “blacks are under attack” and “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”
Jesse Jackson Sr. told attendees of a Sanford, Fla. town hall meeting Sunday that Trayvon Martin, the African-American teenager who was killed last month in the town, is “a martyr.” The activist told the LA Times that “targeting, arresting, convicting blacks and ultimately killing us is big business.”
But Rev. Bryant says people like Sharpton and Jackson are focusing on “white men killing black young men” while the real problem is within the black community itself. “The epidemic is truly black on black crime,” Bryant said. “The greatest danger to the lives of young black men are young black men.”
“Why not be angry about the wholesale murder that goes on in the streets of Newark and Chicago?” he asked. “Why isn’t somebody angry about that six-year-old girl who was killed on her steps last weekend in a cross fire when two gang members in Chicago start shooting at each other? Why is there no outrage about that?”
Bryant said he worries that “people like Sharpton and those on the left” will make Martin’s death a campaign issue in the presidential race. He speculates they will “turn this evolving tragedy of this young man into fodder to say… if you don’t re-elect Obama then you will have unbridled events or circumstances like this happening in the streets to young men wearing hoodies.”