Juan Williams calls Sharpton a hustler

In an appearance on FNC’s “The Five”, captured in this video, Juan Williams passionately called Al Sharpton and Michael-Eric Dyson race hustlers and civil rights hucksters:

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This op-ed is, loosely speaking, a transcript of Juan’s opening monologue. The first 3 minutes of the video are especially powerful. That’s where Juan called Michael-Eric Dyson out for not providing solutions. Here’s part of Juan’s opening monologue:

Two of the worst: civil rights activist and MSNBC host Al Sharpton and Georgetown University Professor Michael Eric Dyson. Their goal: demonize white people, especially conservatives like Bill O’Reilly, so they don’t have to deal with the real problems that continue to plague the black community. Making an older, conservative white guy like O’Reilly a boogie man is easy for these hustlers.

But do they ever confront the real problems and threats in the minority community? No. High murder rates? How about that? What about high dropout rates? What about the breakdown of the family?

After Juan’s opening monologue, Dana Perino noted that Juan didn’t read the monologue off a teleprompter, that he spoke it from the heart. She then said that Juan’s opening monologue might’ve been the most impressive monologue in “The Five’s” history. I wouldn’t disagree with that, though I’d highlight the fact that all 15 minutes of the video are must-see video. During another exchange with Dana Perino, Juan highlighted something important. Starting at the 4:40 mark, here’s what Juan said:

DANA PERINO: What is the most important thing we could address the problem?
JUAN WILLIAMS: For me, it’s education. I grew up as a poor kid. If it wasn’t for education, I wouldn’t be anywhere so, in other words, I had a tiger mom and a black tiger mom who said “you’re gonna get good grades, you’re going to stay in school, you’re gonna work and, not only that, you’re going to achieve. You’re not just going to hang in there. You’re going to achieve.

I applauded Juan for saying that when I watched that monologue live. I’m applauding him again while I’m watching the video this morning. Juan didn’t stop there:

JUAN WILLIAMS: So if we’re serious about this, we go about taking on the unions, going at school reform, going at charter schools, going at vouchers. That’s why people say ‘Well, they provide a lot of jobs.’ You know what, unless you’re educating kids, unless you’re loving kids, you’re not doing anything. You’re not helping.

That’s powerful because a black liberal is talking about taking on the teachers unions, promoting school reform, charter schools and vouchers as solutions to black poverty. That’s something you won’t hear from Michael-Eric Dyson or Al Sharpton. I give Juan credit for writing this great op-ed because it’s part of the solution:

Here is the track record for that solution as I wrote about it in my book, “ENOUGH: The Phony Leaders, Dead-End Movements, and Culture of Failure That Are Undermining Black America–and What We Can Do About It.” “The poverty rate for any black man or woman who follows that formula is a mere 6.4 percent…in other words by meeting those basic requirements black American can cut their chances of being poor by two-thirds…even white American families have a higher poverty rate than black people who finished high school, got married, had children after 21 and worked for at least one week a year.”

The key for black women is also in the formula – do not have a baby outside of a strong marriage. Over a third [35 percent] of the black women who have children out of wedlock – now tragically more than 70 percent – live in poverty.

By comparison, only 17 percent of black women who are married live in poverty. And black children with both parents at home have a better chance for success, fewer dealings with the police, higher graduation rates and are more likely to marry before they have children.

Marriage and the presence of adults as role models and loving disciplinarians is absolutely critical helping young black men build the self-esteem that puts them in position to make good decisions that lead to the road to success.

While Juan repeats many of the Democrats’ talking points, these statements definitely don’t mimic Al Sharpton or Michael-Eric Dyson or Julian Bond or other race hucksters. These are time-tested solutions.

There’s another important lesson that needs to be learned from this discussion. While Sharpton’s, Dyson’s and Jesse Jackson’s statements are incendiary and counterproductive, Republicans aren’t without blame, either. Republican politicians should make frequent visits into the minority communities. While they’re there, they should follow a specific pattern.

First, Republican politicians should introduce themselves, then start listening. People that listen signal to the talker that what they’re saying is important. I coined a phrase years ago about that: “The fastest way to confer dignity on people is by listening intently because it sends the message that what they’re saying is important.”

When they hear something that approaches common ground, they should highlight that and express the fact that they’re willing, even eager, to work with minorities on improving their lives.

In the end, this isn’t a political issue. It’s a moral issue. I’m no fan of NCLB but I agree with President Bush’s statement that we need to end “the soft bigotry of low expectations.” That’s what Juan passionately and eloquently spoke about. It’s what Michael-Eric Dyson, Al Sharpton and Jesse Jackson won’t talk about. It’s what Republicans should do a better job of prioritizing.

In the end, that’s the ultimate solution.

Comments welcome at Let Freedom Ring.