By Richard B. Muhammad
Phil Kadner, in a recent Chicago Sun Times column, wrote of the symbolism of a painting and haunting memories of things that should have been said or done. The problem is Chicago and America don’t need to look at a painting, they need to look in a mirror.
In a city still known for racial segregation, violence largely confined to Black and Latino Bantustans overwhelmed by poverty, abusive policing, food deserts, school closings and fratricidal murder, a look in a mirror could be quite helpful.
Instead of looking into the mirror and dealing squarely with its hideous reflection, Mr. Kadner wants to pillory Nation of Islam Minister Louis Farrakhan, a man holding the mirror and pointing out the pervasive ugliness of this society and its deep racial wounds.
Stuck with a hateful president whose power lies in millions who love and support him and whose party fears him, Mr. Kadner is part of a shrill chorus that tries to equate a man who speaks truths, sometimes bitter truths, to a nation spiraling out of control with a voter-approved Divider-In- Chief.
There is no Trump-Farrakhan equivalency. Trump is an all-American product. He represents a significant open and secret constituency that wants to see the assertion of White Power. Not necessarily the old style White Power of hoods and sheets but modern, up to date White privilege reflected in concerns about White resentment, White angst, and political correctness. Today’s White Power is to be exercised through deprivation, denial, public policy and political justifications. Whites are tired of having to respect Black folk and other dark people, or at least feigning respect. They want to assert privilege and power promised by the Founding Fathers of this great republic.
As Min. Farrakhan challenges the evil, inequality, hypocrisy and abuses that remain undeniable parts of American life, he becomes the problem. It’s not surprising. Those who speak in a prophetic mode and call America to correct herself are readily and quickly condemned. So, in 1967 good journalists like Mr. Kadner and respectable publications like the Chicago Sun-Times condemned Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for condemning the Vietnam War and asserting the “greatest purveyor of violence in the world” was the United States of America.
Hiding behind a cloak of conservatism is the same old assertion of White Power and White privilege that has been with this country from the inception. Blacks have no rights and no voice Whites are bound to respect.
And, no matter what Black people suffer, no matter how they define their interests and frame their reality, White sensibilities and White analysis is always right. So their lie that Min. Farrakhan is a hater must be accepted and those who refuse must be discredited and destroyed along with him.
It’s shameful and cowardly.
In 65 years of public life and 85 years of life on this planet, Min. Farrakhan has never been arrested. In 40 years of rebuilding the Nation of Islam, neither the Minister nor his followers have touched one Jewish person. They have not desecrated a synagogue, nor boycotted Jewish businesses or deprived Jewish people of their rights.
Repeating old lies about Min. Farrakhan won’t change things for the better. While Blacks who carry favor from Whites and Jews will bow, the Black masses will not.
They hear Min. Farrakhan calling them to improve themselves, to do for self, to stand proudly and not be overcome by the ugly American hatred. They see Muslims, male and female, in the streets, in the prisons, in the schools, in the trap houses, at the funerals and everywhere Black suffering persists. They see the products of profound love produced by a ministry of love.
In a nation where group identification is a major part of existence, constituencies are spoken of and organize as groups: Blacks, Latinos, Women, Gays, Jews. Each group wields power or seeks to obtain power to protect its interests inside a country with a history of violence and oppression.
Jews are a powerful constituency group. If this group has opposed every good deed, twisted almost every word and seeks to destroy Min. Farrakhan, is it illogical to refer to them as an enemy and a powerful enemy? The designation has nothing to do with hatred from the Farrakhan side of the equation but is a blunt recognition about those who oppose his interests and the interests of those he is trying to serve and save.
Trying to force Black people to see the world through the eyes of Whites and Jews as Blacks suffer, see, feel and endure rising threats from outside their community and serious issues inside the house will never work. This is the day of our rise and independence. We are no longer your slaves and we no longer see the world through your jaundiced eyes. We are well aware of what we see when we look in America’s mirror.
Richard B. Muhammad, an award-winning writer, is editor in chief of The Final Call Newspaper. Follow @RMfinalcall on Twitter and get more at www.richardmuhammad.com