The Campaign to Divide: Farrakhan's Attempt to Legitimize His Leadership in Black America

By Taylor, Clarence | Black Issues in Higher Education, April 7, 1994 | Go to article overview

The Campaign to Divide: Farrakhan's Attempt to Legitimize His Leadership in Black America


Taylor, Clarence, Black Issues in Higher Education


The Campaign To Divide: Farrakhan's Attempt To Legitimize His. Leadership In Black America

Black nationalism is not monolithic. Its ideology is in opposition to assimilation within the dominant society. However, as many scholars note, one dominant trend in Black nationalism is progressive Black nationalism. Advocates of this progressive ideology stress cultural pride and connect the predicament of African Americans to the problems of Africans in Africa, the Caribbean and Europe.

Progressive Black nationalists advocate building institutions in the Black community for social, political and economic empowerment, and consistently challenge the dominant society's attempt to dehumanize people of African origins. These nationalists attempt to build coalitions in the struggle against the harmful impact of capitalism, imperialism, sexism and racism.

Another form of Black nationalism is much more conservative. This sect attempts to isolate the Black community, stresses chauvinism, and is unchallenging to racism, sexism, and the harmful effects of capitalism. They do advocate a global analysis of the problems of African Americans, and attempt to divide other groups who face oppression. This form of narrow nationalism is advocated by Louis Farrakhan and the leadership of the Nation of Islam (NOI).

A major objective of NOI is to whip up hatred of those who have a long history of being victims of discrimination -- Jews, gays, Catholics, and others. The words of Khalid Abdul Muhammad, a narrow-minded demagogue and leading spokesman for this group, clearly demonstrates this point. Muhammad refers to Jews as "bloodsuckers" who deserved to experience the Holocaust. He labels homosexuals "faggots," and has even called the Pope a "no-good cracker."

In a well-publicized-after-the-fact speech at Kean College in New Jersey, this provocateur of hate advocated killing white South Africans indiscriminately. "We kill the women. We kill the children. We kill the babies. We kill the blind. We kill the cripples. We kill 'em all. We kill the faggot. We kill the lesbian. We kill 'em all."

Hate and Intolerance

Although Louis Farrakhan, the head of the NOI, denounced the statements of Muhammad as "mean-spirited" and "repugnant," his words are meaningless, because he declared that he supports the "truths" of the Kean speech, i.e., anti-Semitic and anti-gay tautology.

Farrakhan has also uttered similar words of hate and intolerance. Jews are a favorite target of the minister. Farrakhan has animated the old racist myth that Jews are naturally evil. Who can ever forget his claim that Judaism is "a gutter religion"? In 1985, he boldly declared that he has a "controversy with the Jews." He compared himself to Jesus arguing that he (Jesus) was hated by the Jews because he "exposed their wicked hypocrisy."

Thus, Farrakhan infers that the Jews hate him because, like Jesus, he is uncovering their duplicity. He expounded that the Jews use their "stranglehold over the government" to smear him, and they have no respect for the truth.

Farrakhan continually defends the NOI's publication, The Secret Relationship between Blacks and Jews, a book that falsely claims that Jews were the major backers of the international slave trade, as he rants and raves about a Jewish conspiracy aimed to stop him. At a rally in Harlem in January, Farrakhan asserted that "They [the Jews] don't want Farrakhan to do what he does. They are plotting now as we speak."

In an interview with Wilbert Tatum of the Amsterdam News, Farrakhan declared that "The difference with us is, we're not looking to the Jew for a damned dime."

Farrakhan adroitly fabricates enemies of Black men in order to elevate himself to the position of the No. 1 defender of Black manhood. His declaration of independence from Jewish financial support leaves the strong impression that Jews are a threat to Black manhood because they attempt to control Black men through money, and Black leaders have simply acquiesced to their demands. …

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