Backlash after Al Sharpton makes bizarre comment about ‘chitlins and watermelon’ in MLK Day speech

Call it “Martin Luther Cringe Day.”

Speaking before a predominantly black audience on Monday at the National Action Network’s Harlem headquarters, Al Sharpton invoked racist stereotypes that would have gotten a white man in a world of trouble.

Sharpton was reportedly trying to make a point about community involvement at his annual King Day Public Policy Forum on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, according to the New York Daily News.

“A lot of folks don’t believe in public policy,” he said. “But this is not their holiday. This is Dr. King’s day. This ain’t your birthday. And Dr. King was about public policy.”

Echoing a familiar tune, Sharpton then tied King to the union-led fight for a $15 minimum wage, with a helping of “chitlins and watermelon.”

“On your birthday, we’ll eat chitlins and watermelon and drink some sweet iced tea because that’s what you do,” Sharpton said. “But on his birthday, on his holiday, we do what King does. We’re going to march. We’re marching about minimum wage. Fifteen dollars-an-hour minimum wage.”

It’s not clear who he was referring to or if he had an ax to grind. Then again, trying to impute logic on the MSNBC host’s thought process can be a challenge in itself.

Sharpton later claimed that he was “mocking people who take holidays to eat bad food and play into old stereotypes.”

When asked if it would have been wrong for a white person to mention ‘chitlins and watermelon,’ he fell back on the typical double-standard rhetoric the left is infamous for.

“Probably yes, because you’re talking about stereotypes,” he said. “I’m talking about a debate we got going on about food.”

Based on the reaction from social media, the race-hustler’s sphere of influence continues to shrink among those who are paying attention. Here’s a sampling of responses from Twitter:

Tom Tillison


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