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Al Sharpton is right.
Today when Paris Hilton got sprung from jail 20 days early — from a sentence that was just half of what was originally imposed — the story turned out to be that Paris' shrink went to the jailers and said she was about to have a nervous breakdown. So they let her go home early with an ankle bracelet. Sharpton immediately said there may have been racism involved here.
Look, when he's right he's right. No matter what you think of Rev. Al, it is hard to imagine that anywhere in America a black woman is getting out of jail today because her shrink says she's about to have a nervous breakdown. He says it wouldn't happen, and I agree.
It shouldn't happen either. It shouldn't happen with "little miss just anybody," whether she's African-American or white or Asian or Hispanic or anything. And it shouldn't have happened with Paris Hilton.
Was it because she's white? Maybe just a bit, but more likely it happened because she's rich and her parents can make lawyers and shrinks work round the clock to move mountains. In fact, when this little rich white girl gets her way by throwing a hissy fit it illustrates that celebrities and rich people can make things happen that others cannot.
During the O.J. trail we used to say it wasn't so much black and white in play but green. O.J. had money, so he could hire the best and fight back. Many white people have that advantage, while with African-Americans, not so much.
Somewhere in America there must be a young African-American girl in jail who should get what Paris Hilton got today: a pass. Is it going to happen? Unless she's got a rich daddy and a high-priced shrink and a slick lawyer, probably not.
I don't know if I'd call that situation racism per se, but it is rich white privilege in action, that is for sure. So give Rev. Al one. He's right about this.
That's My Word.
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