Controversial civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump delivered yet another incredibly divisive speech Sunday on Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., Donald Trump, and race relations in America. Speaking before a congregation at the Morris Street Baptist Church in Charleston, S.C., Crump cast a vision of racial “progress” that draws more from the destructive identity politics of the Black Lives Matter movement than the ideas professed by Rev. King
Crump has represented the families of Trayvon Martin and Michael Brown in the high-profile shooting cases and is currently representing several of the alleged black female victims of former Oklahoma police officer Daniel Holtzclaw in a civil case. Benjamin Crump is known for invoking retributive social justice, rather than actual justice, and for favoring narrative over evidence. His speech Sunday included obligatory references to “systemic racism” and “the new Jim Crow”:
We must all face the uncomfortable truth that it is dangerous to be black in America. Shockingly, our courts have accepted that race is relevant evidence in determining the reasonableness of using deadly force ― by police and by regular citizens standing their ground and defending their property against a vague threat. This systemic belief that black people are inherently dangerous has created an “open season” on people of color in America.
And it doesn’t end with physical violence. Black people are killed again when they enter the courtroom. When innocent black defendants are forced to plead guilty to a lesser felony conviction to avoid a decade in prison, they become the walking dead, unable to get a job or vote, unable to achieve a stable income to support their children. This is the steep price they pay.
Crump dared to quote Martin Luther King Jr., as if Rev. King’s dream for this country remotely resembled the divisive, race-baiting tactics employed by the Left:
He then turned to Donald Trump, and the role the president-elect must play in ensuring that the rights of all Americans, as expressed in the Constitution, are upheld:
It’s incumbent on President-elect Trump to set the tone for this America and denounce division, racism and nativism as he becomes president of all...
It’s essential that his Attorney General embraces and upholds the high purpose of his office and becomes the champion of civil rights for all […]
Let us demand that the Constitution… the document that makes this fragile experiment in democracy possible… is upheld. America, these are your words. As the Constitution guarantees, let us insist on due process and equal justice for all ― the white skinned and the brown skinned, the privileged and the destitute, the powerful and the powerless.
Crump’s reference to the Constitution is comical, given what Americans witnessed last week during the confirmation hearing for Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala. (C, 78%). The Left doesn’t really want “equal justice for all,” but rather special, extralegal privileges for select groups.
Crump’s speech in Charleston employed many of the same talking points mentioned in President Obama’s farewell address last week. Like Crump, Obama stressed that the “effects of slavery and Jim Crow” are still present in America, and that in order to fix this, “we need to uphold laws against discrimination.”
In a recent piece titled, “Dr. King, Race Relations, and Obama’s Farewell Address,” National Review’s Roger Clegg compares the Left’s vision of racial equality to that of Rev. King. Clegg notes that the Left “has always insisted on race-specific, rather than race-neutral, social programs,” and that toward the end of his presidency, “Obama has acceded more and more on both points.”
“I don’t think that Martin Luther King would be happy with this,” Clegg writes. “He did, after all, dream of a country where individuals are judged by the content of their character, not the color of their skin.”
Citing the famous 1965 Moynihan Report, Clegg condemns the Left’s failure to acknowledge family breakdown — not “systemic racism” or mass incarceration — as a key cultural cause of socioeconomic disparity between blacks and other races.
“Dr. King had his extramarital affairs, but he was a pastor, and it is hard to imagine that he would be happy about the rate of out-of-wedlock births among African Americans, which is more than double today what it was back then,” Clegg writes.
Social liberals love to talk about “justice” and “unity,” but the racially charged rhetoric of people like Crump and Obama ensure that that these two ideals remain out of reach.
Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C. (B, 89%) penned a short op-ed Monday that accurately captures the true meaning of unity and equality as espoused by Rev. King. Scott begins by acknowledging that racial tension still exists in this country. He notes that nearly 50 years after King’s death, “our nation once again sits at the crossroads between unity and division.”
“The treatment endured by Dr. King while fighting for freedom, from a house bombing to his murder, shows us all the threats we face when we choose division,” Sen. Scott writes.
“We owe it to Dr. King and his sacrifice to ensure that everyday and everywhere across our nation we choose unity over division, and freedom over oppression.”
The divisive “no justice, no peace” language of the anti-cop Black Lives Matter movement is characteristic of Rev. Martin Luther King’s oppressors, not his supporters. Race-baiting liberals like Benjamin Crump and Barack Obama deviate from King’s dream of equality before the law.
To conflate their goals with Rev. King’s is to misrepresent one of great civil rights heroes of our nation’s history.
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Carly Hoilman is a Correspondent for Conservative Review. You can follow her on Twitter @CarlyHoilman.