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October 18, 2005

A Million Tiny Daggers

I heard there was a large Farrakhan event a few days ago. I didn't get the memo.

More precisely, I haven't been through the 'hood in several weeks so I hadn't been informed of the matter. I can't say that I listen to any black radio seeing as I own all the music I want to hear. As for BET, well I was gone around the time of Donnie Simpson. So how does Farrakhan get half a million people to congregate in one place? It ain't magic, it's logistics. And apparently, it is a logistical miracle that passes some of us by. Needless to say, the event went off without a hitch - a hitch being arrests and violence sufficient to spice up whatever ordinary distortions get covered by the media.

The good thing about Farrakhan is that he knows when to show up, which is rarely. But every time he does, it makes a big splash. You got to give the man some props for that. As much as people like to blast Farrakhan as an anti-Semitic blowhard, he has never crossed the line and broke the law. The Nation of Islam always gets busted for what its lunatics do, be they Khallid Abdul Muhammad or Tony Muhammad. But Farrakhan remains in the calm eye of the storm, somehow at peace with his complicity in the death of Malcolm X, and yet at a safe distance from the madness of some loud fraction of his clerics. Like other conservatives before me, I occasionally feel a strong resonance with Farrakhan's message of die hard self-reliance. He's a black separatist, pure and simple. He doesn't believe in integration, nor does he believe in superiority. Rather, he represents the evolution of survivalism. But instead of being in the backwoods like white survivalists, he's deep in the urban ghettos, jails and prisons with black survivalists. He is at peace with permanent non-violent conflict between the races, but unlike those at the fringe, Farrakhan always says, "I don't want to fight you, just get out of my face." Of course he knows better. There are plenty of Americans who would volunteer to have Farrakhan deported or worse for no good reason. Louie may occasionally be screwy but he ain't stupid. You'll never hear him singing 'I fought the law and the law won.' He knows which battles to engage.

There aren't many if any prominent Muslim clerics we Americans know in America which is a shame. So Farrakhan takes the heat from all black muslims although most American blacks are Sunni - which tends to be more modern and less conservative than Shia, from what I've learned. Still, for all the extraordinary venom and fire that has come from this brand of radical talk, there has been very little violence directed at 'devils'. It doesn't take long to hear some taste of the nasty vibe when listening to Ice Cube's NOI tinged opus 'Lethal Injection'. You'd think that a million fans of that million seller album would be a nightmare black American jihad waiting to explode. But American taste for violent themes far outstrips our willingness to go there and so it holds for "the followers of Farrakhan / Don't tell me that you understand / Until you hear the man", as Chuck D said.

I've had several friends in the Nation, and it isn't a cult. It's more like a religion where you go to church every day. In the NOI, they watch each other every day all the time. A brother like me would suffocate within a week. But if you buy the premise, that nobody, especially white Christians, has the interests of blackfolks at heart except blackfolks and that American Christianity is corrupt beyond redemption, then you could do worse than the NOI, especially if you're a prisoner.

The Nation has a surfiet of flaws that escapes nobody's attention. There isn't a mistake they've made that hasn't found its way to publication thanks to the surveillance of various watchdogs. It's nice to know that while he's not dismissable, he has been dismissed. How many years have I had to answer for him? More than I care to remember. Admittedly the blogosphere is a more sophisticated space, and the Culture Wars have calmed down significantly as well. So it's been a while since I've had to whip out the disclaimer. So in that context, it's useful and interesting to see what the presence of Louis Farrakhan augers for black politics. He's the one with the organization that brings the bodies.

I'll be keeping my ears open for inflections in black politics owing to Farrakhan's words. I don't expect much, but I'm still listening.

Posted by mbowen at October 18, 2005 10:28 AM

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"He's a black separatist, pure and simple. He doesn't believe in integration, nor does he believe in superiority."

But segregation was totally unprecedented in our classical history. U.S. Blacks lived more or less side-by-side (if not side-by-side in the buddy-buddy sense, then at least shoulder-to-shoulder) with whites. His stance is psychologicallly untenable. How can anyone seriously consider themselves a "sepratist" in this country? The entire idea is plainly stupid to every rational person in the nation.

Yeah, lets split up all of the mixed couples and put their kids in foster care. That man is a fanatic.

Also, did you kick LSB and Nykol out of TCB or did they bow out?

Posted by: Negrorage [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2005 12:42 PM

No comment on TCB here at the moment other than to say it was all amicable.

I want to know how many African Americans take him and his racial separatism seriously. That's the degree of people who can't find their way in America and believe that whitefolks are the problem. His minions are a driving force in the Coalition of the Damned. So I want him to stay alive as the logical destination of all kinds of bad politics. Again, my point is to change attitudes about the Old School and the GOP.

Posted by: Cobb [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2005 01:12 PM

I don't even know that I buy that he is all that much of a seperatist. I think he knows that in this country, successful blacks will have to touch the mainstream in some way - just as he does. I think his clear cut message, which I'd think that most conservatives should agree with, is one of self-sufficiency and if he has to say "stop begging white folks" to get particular knuckleheads to absorb that, so be it. I'm not really sure who his base is ... seems to me there is still a rather large contingent of ex-offenders who are looking for discipline and guidance (another thing the mainstream should be glad about) and as long as they stay out of trouble by selling bean pies and Final Calls, somebody should be thanking him.

I like his presentation skills far better than Jackson's and Sharpton's and, many times, his political insight/wisdom. Case in point: the uproar over Vicente Fox's remarks regarding Mexicans being willing to take jobs that even blacks don't want. Jesse/Al were foaming at the mouth and demanding an apology while Farrakahn, like I, didn't see why folks were getting mad at something that was basically the truth.

Minus the NOI (which has what? 10-15K members at the most?)and the rhetoric about white people (which really does make me laugh most of the time because he isn't dangerous and doesn't incite violence no matter how hateful whites try to make him out to be), I actually admire him far more than some of the blowhards out there trying to represent the black community (particularly some of these greedy, mega-church preachers who need to get over themselves about being invited to the White House).

People say they don't like him because he is a divider but I sense that if too many black folks did rise to the heights he tells them they can and stood on equal footing with whites in business and education, white folks would be running the other way and that even if things were equal, they would still be separate.

Posted by: qusan [TypeKey Profile Page] at October 18, 2005 02:48 PM