After being attacked as everything from a “race hustler” to “dishonest,” Rev. Al Sharpton responded Tuesday to Fox News host Bill O’Reilly recent insults.
Representing what O’Reilly called “the grievance industry” on his Monday program, Sharpton laid out other “grievances” in the history of America, noting that the First Amendment literally gives Americans the right to assemble and petition for the “redress of grievances.”
He pointed to Seneca Falls and to the famous “Letter from a Birmingham Jail” in which Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. wrote that he hoped white clergy would “serve as the channel through which our just grievances could reach the power structure.”
“Sharpton and others are attacking me because I am a threat to them,” O’Reilly said on Monday’s program, accusing the civil rights leaders of profiting by “promoting racial division.”
“The grievances we face in America have changed over time–just as the country has changed,” Sharpton said in his response. “But today, there are still deep injustices that we must address. Our criminal justice system too often treats millions of Americans differently because of the color of their skin.”
“We’re always striving to form a more perfect union. We’ve long moved past unfair tariffs and three-fifths of a person, beyond denying women the right to vote and beyond the control of Jim Crow,” he said. “Now we fight against criminal injustice and economic inequality. We fight for equal rights for all Americans, for gays, for new immigrants, for women to earn equal pay for equal work.”
“Sure, it makes some people uncomfortable, but this country has always evolved because people stood up, addressed the problems of their time and fought to change them.”