The saying that has been inculcated in the minds and lives of Blacks across this nation, “Snitches Get Stitches” came to mind as I watched a YouTube video with Yvette Carnell and Paschal Robert discussing Al Sharpton’s role as a New York mob snitch. Ever since the latest, albeit, not really new revelations about Sharpton emerged, I wondered how we would receive it and what, if anything, we would do.
Since Sharpton is a highly visible, iconoclastic, activist and spokesperson for so many Black folks, why not use his snitching to our advantage? Murder and violent crime are running rampant in the so-called ‘hood; families are being torn apart by gun violence and left to grieve the loss of their loved ones. Our streets run red with the blood of our children as we cower in our homes, witnessing acts of murder but too scared to call Crime Stoppers, anonymously, and identify the perpetrator – and get some cash money to boot.
The gang mantra, “Snitches Get Stitches,” works to our degradation and social deterioration. With Sharpton’s example, we could change our mantra to “Snitches Get Riches.” He has given us the model for doing the right thing when it comes to snitching; and he told on mob bosses, not neighborhood street thugs and small time hustlers. Al played in the big leagues of the snitching game, got rich and has been propelled into the stratosphere of political elitism and media visibility.
I can see them now, billboards, TV ads, bumper stickers, t-shirts, all featuring Al’s picture, with the saying, “Snitches Get Riches!” Below would be a direct quote from him: “I did what anybody would do…other than a thug…I cooperated…I did what was right.” Chicago could use that line of thinking (45 shootings and 10 dead during Easter weekend), as well as Cincinnati, Ohio, where a Black person is shot and/or killed nearly every night.
I think Al’s words could help start a snitching frenzy in the ‘hood. A lot of Black folks follow Sharpton; Why wouldn’t they follow him by snitching on murderers? Now that he has stood up in public and said it’s the right to do, his followers just might consider doing likewise. You know how we like to “get paid!”
Jim Clingman, founder of the Greater Cincinnati African American Chamber of Commerce, is the nation’s most prolific writer on economic empowerment for Black people.