The fatal shooting of Michael Brown was a tragedy — but African-Americans must weigh it against other national atrocities, such as the mushrooming Chicago murder rate, says Niger Innis, national spokesman for the Congress of Racial Equality.
"It's so very important that the black community keep real perspective on this situation, that the American community keep perspective on this situation,'' Innis said Monday on "The Steve Malzberg Show" on Newsmax TV.
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"The weekend before Michael Brown was killed, there was some 26 blacks that were shot in Chicago. Chicago has become, like unfortunately too many of our urban centers, a killing field.
"It's not blacks getting shot by racist white cops or by the Klan or some skinheads. In most of those cases, they're shot by other blacks. If indeed the black community is under siege, it is largely under siege by crime.''
Innis, who is also executive director of TheTeaParty.net
, said it is that perspective that lawmakers and the media should be promoting.
"But they do just the reverse. They ignore [it] — including the president of the United States, who by the way is from Chicago, as is [Nation of Islam leader] Louis Farrakhan, as is [the Rev.] Jesse Jackson,'' he said.
"There's a whole black intelligentsia and black elite mafia out of Chicago, and nevertheless Chicago is the killing field for young black men, and no attention is being paid to that death. No attention is being paid to that loss of life.
"It's almost like black life does not matter unless it's taken by a white cop or by a white racist.''
Innis said he was particularly disappointed in the leadership of President Barack Obama.
"Part of the motivation that the American people had in electing him was that he was going to be this figure that truly, like Abraham Lincoln, heals this nation, through courage and leadership brought this nation together, particularly on issues of race,'' Innis said.
"Well, some several years after that historic [election] night, he has proven to be a miserable failure in that regard. Not only has he not brought us closer together, I would argue that our politics and our racial politics are as exacerbated as they ever have been.
"I use the term against Al Sharpton that he does not put out the fires of racial animus, he's an arsonist. Well, I'm sad to say so is our president of the United States, and so, by the way, is our attorney general, who happens to be black as well. They have played right into the racial game-playing, the racial card-throwing politics of Al Sharpton.''
Innis says the racial politics includes sending signals to the black community that this tragedy is akin to a sporting event.
"If you're on the black team, you just have to be rooting against the cop and rooting that this cop be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, and that if you're not on the black team that you can look at this situation reasonably,'' he said.
"That is exactly the kind of racial polarization that this administration was supposed to help heal, and nevertheless they have exacerbated it.
"I tragically believe that regardless of what the facts say in this case . . . that there're going to be large segments of the black community . . . saying the cops should not have shot Michael Brown and the cop should go to jail immediately.''
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