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Farrakhan Criticizes Black Lesbians in CSUN Appearance

Chandler is a Times staff writer and Bryant is a special correspondent

Minister Louis Farrakhan, the controversial Nation of Islam leader whose appearance at Cal State Northridge set off a confrontation between African-American and Jewish student groups, soft-pedaled mention of Jews when he spoke Thursday night, criticizing black lesbians instead.

Farrakhan, speaking to a mostly black audience of about 2,000, said black lesbians were turning to other women out of lack of respect for jobless black men, but would not do so if they “ever get exposed to a real man.”

“It’s the black woman who’s working today,” he said. “The black man is out of work. . . . You can’t respect a man you’re taking care of. This is why our women are turning toward women.

“I’m not knocking homosexuals, they are my family . . . but I know what God expects and I know there’s no future down that road. Don’t tell me you’re a woman trapped in a man’s body. I’m telling you, if you ever get exposed to a real man, you would never go to a woman.

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“No woman can do for you what a real man can do,” he said.

At one point he mimicked effeminate gestures, shaking his wrists loosely.

Farrakhan, who has been accused of making anti-Semitic speeches in the past, made few references to Jews on Thursday night, including: “Jews know who they are . . . they know their history. But the black man has been deprived of the knowledge of his history.”

He encouraged blacks in the audience to get their own house in order before they can begin to change a country that is “literally on her deathbed.”

“We gotta go home and do some homework. We got to go back into the ‘hood and clean up our own community,” Farrakhan said at the campus event.

In the opening half of his speech, given to commemorate the 25th anniversary of a famous CSUN protest, he talked of the need to heal divisions between different ethnic groups.

“These lines of division, if not healed, will cause America to go the way of the ancient nations,” he said.

Security at the CSUN gymnasium was particularly tight, with about 25 campus police and several Los Angeles police units on guard outside and a large contingent of Farrakhan’s security forces arrayed inside the building, frisking members of the audience as they entered. But there were no incidents reported.

Farrakhan was introduced by university President Blenda Wilson, who called him “an international figure of great moment in our history.”

A rival event was held at the same time off the campus by a Jewish student group and others who say they object to Farrakhan because he has made anti-Semitic remarks in the past.

Farrakhan’s speech began about 70 minutes after its scheduled 7 p.m. start.

Just before 7 p.m., crowds milling outside heard police car sirens and saw an LAPD helicopter with its spotlight circling, but police said they were part of a group chasing a car theft suspect, who was nabbed nearby.

Farrakhan’s speech was to be the highlight of a weeklong series of events, co-sponsored by the campus’ Black Students Union and Pan-African Studies Department, to commemorate a famous 1968 CSUN protest. The protest and the subsequent student prosecutions were partially responsible for formation of the school’s black studies department the next year.

But the commemorative events were overshadowed by a heated dispute that broke out between the campus’ black and Jewish student groups over the Farrakhan speech.

CSUN’s Hillel Jewish Student Center and several other groups co-sponsored an alternate event, billed as “A Gathering of People for Understanding,” on the same night as Farrakhan’s speech.

In response, the president of the BSU, Leslie Small, dispatched a harshly worded letter accusing them of using “Hitlerian tactics” to undermine Farrakhan’s appearance.

Jews complained that the letter, which accused Jews of a number of historical crimes, was anti-Semitic. Wilson, the university’s president, branded it “insulting and disrespectful to Jews.”

According to documents the BSU submitted to CSUN’s student government, the group agreed to pay Farrakhan a $15,000 honorarium and nearly $4,300 for Farrakhan and his security team’s air fare from Chicago. The BSU said it received a $15,000 loan from an unspecified source, but must repay the lender the principle and half of all ticket revenues.


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