Frank Cerabino, Palm Beach Post, March 30, 2008
During the past three weeks, a network of about 30 black women bloggers have been blistering Sharpton and the local NAACP for coddling the black teenagers accused taking a neighborhood woman at gunpoint into her West Palm Beach home, raping her and forcing her to have sex with her own pre-teen son.
Earlier this month, Sharpton stood in front of the Palm Beach County State Attorney’s Office with local NAACP officials and relatives of the accused Dunbar Village rapists to complain that these teenage boys are victims of racial discrimination.
[Tonyaa Weathersbee] and other politically active black women bloggers say Sharpton has ignored the indisputable victims in the Dunbar case—a 35-year-old black woman and her 12-year-old son.
Maude Ford Lee, the president of the West Palm Beach NAACP chapter, spoke alongside Sharpton while the assembled media were handed a flier showing the photos of three of the accused Dunbar Village rapists with the words, “Voiceless, Vulnerable, Victims!!” next to them.
Sharpton had the victims wrong
The gist of the racial discrimination complaint was that the Dunbar teenagers were being held without bond while a group of white teenagers from suburban Boca Raton charged with rape earlier this year were free on bond.
In the suburban Boca Raton case, the teens were accused of getting two neighborhood friends drunk and then raping them while they were too drunk to resist.
Fenton [Arlene Fenton, a blogger] organized a letter-writing campaign against the local NAACP, Sharpton and his National Action Network for using the west Boca case to make victims of the Dunbar Village teenagers.
“It is breathtaking that the National Action Network brain trust can’t seem to comprehend the difference between a home invasion by masked gunmen who torture, rape, sodomize, cut, burn, and beat their victims for THREE HOURS and culminate the event with crime against nature committed against a 12-year-old child . . . and a case involving NONE of those facts,” Fenton wrote.
Bloggers see victory
The women bloggers take all this backpedaling as a victory.
“Let this be the alarm for any man, woman or organization that decides to align itself with those who harm Black women and children—today is a new day,” blogged Tanisha Mathis. “Today is the day you realize we are an omnipresent force to be reckoned with and respected.”
[Editor’s Note: More information on the Dunbar rape can be found here.]