‘To Look Upon Louis Farrakhan As Any Kind of Solution Is Condescending’


The fundamental problem is that the person who conceived the whole business is Louis Farrakhan. Whenever anyone asks if I can separate Farrakhan from the issue, I always ask what about a white counterpart of his? Would anybody give him any slack?

If you had something as pernicious--and I’m sure you do--in redneck southern culture as you have in all of these urban communities, and David Duke said, “Let us go to Washington and let us turn our backs on drinking too much, on beating our wives . . . on all of those things we stereotypically associate with rednecks.” Nobody would say we can separate David Duke from the idea of rednecks being more responsible and not being drunken, loutish swine.

The thing I find fascinating is that no white person is looked upon as somebody we have to forgive for all of his insanity. Part of the intrinsically racist attitude that white people in the media exhibit about black people is when they’ll make excuses for somebody like Farrakhan on the basis of the fact that he encourages Negroes not to drink liquor and not to shoot drugs and not to be anarchists. Who doesn’t encourage people not to do that?


It is unarguable that the Nation of Islam has been able to reach people seen as unreachable and give them discipline. But totalitarians always have a health program. Hitler, Franco and Mussolini all talked about getting up early in the morning, taking deep breaths, doing push-ups, taking long walks, swimming.

To look upon Louis Farrakhan as any kind of solution to anything is condescending. He is going to remain a racist, anti-Semitic nut leader of a nut cult founded on the idea that white people were invented by a mad black scientist 6,000 years ago. So a bunch of clean-shaven black guys come out. They don’t drink, they don’t smoke. But that doesn’t make up for what they believe.

The fundamental problem we’re talking about is not doing something new , but actually doing something old. Only in the last 25-30 years in the black community has teen-age pregnancy become acceptable, [have] criminals started being looked upon as political prisoners and victims of the system.

If we could get back to the fundamental vision of civilized behavior and adult responsibility that existed in the black community in, say, 1955, I think we would be much better off.