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The not quite late Louis Farrakhan

By Owen Paine on Friday April 6, 2007 07:43 PM

The head on this op-ed from the Boston blob caught my eye: "After Farrakhan":


Farrakhan is a man I have a deep respect for, so I read it and got provoked:

...To some, Farrakhan's importance is far from self-evident, and his legacy is quite simple: anti-Semitism and bigotry....
Ya ya ya, sure sure, we all remember the MSM lashing the Rev to the leg of Jesse Jackson, and demanding Jesse repudiate him, but the Globus goes on to note:
...Farrakhan more than any other well-known leader has been more willing to engage the issues of poverty and violent crime ... What are we to do with millions of young black men in poor, violent, hyper-segregated neighborhoods in all of our major cities?
Oddly, or maybe not so oddly, the Globenik fails to mention the current solution: put 'em in prison. But he's trying to be a calmer and a peacemaker here, so he gives us... background:
Urbanization created countless numbers of apathetic, despairing lower-class black men, who were essentially incarcerated in ghettos... To these men, who had exchanged the pogroms and apartheid of the South for the hypocrisy and discrimination of the North, the black nationalist critique of liberal integrationism had an indisputable logic.
Urbanization? An abstract noun did this terrible thing? Who knew that was even possible? Our man might have said that those "apathetic, despairing" men moved north and into 'hoods that promptly shed job opportunities like a mangy dog sheds hair -- but let's move on.
In this historical context the Muslims performed a necessary political function.
Now that's about as blandly-stated a version of the synergies of radical threat and moderate reform as you are likely to read in a big-city paper -- better than you'll see in that pretentious but shallow rag a few hours down I-95. But even so, it's just posing a Machiavel myth:
They served as a counterpoint to the established civil rights leadership.
Counterpoint? Guy doesn't know what the word means, but even so -- who saw them as a "counterpoint" at the time?
The uncompromising voices deconstructing the glamorous hypocrisies of American society served to strengthen the hand of the more moderate leaders....
Threat begat reform. That's true enough -- in fact it's the only way you get reform. But it didn't happen because the black community played Mutt and Jeff with Whitey's state. Imagine telling a Mr X, Hey thanks, my brother, you be servin' an invaluable function!

Mr X: Say what, asshole?

You iz "by forcing political reforms, averting a much worse conflagration...."

Mr X: You mean to tell me "the riots of the 1960s" were just good tactics in a reform? You can fuck that, man!

Oh, but there's more:

...as public policy for the black poor integration has largely been a failure.
But it did work for the talented tenth, the black boozhoizee. Our Globe man observes,
The nationalists underestimated how much the black middle class would be integrated into the professional and managerial class of the wider society.
Translation: they underestimated just how much leverage the uprisings of the 60's gave the "more moderate leaders."

So now, having set the scene by showing how the lower-order black urban uprisings of the 60's led to absolutely zippo for that same lower order, our man turns to his to-do list for any "centrist, pragmatic black nationalism" focused "on problem solving."

To what ends will these pragmatical centrists push?

Reducing violent crime, the black-white achievement gap in education, the failure of black fathers... family stabilization....
Get Louis X on the phone -- he'll find this delightful. Fruits of Islam indeed.
We need a new black church-based movement that promotes community-based public policies designed by black nationalists for the black poor.
Church-based but designed by black nationalists? Martin Luther Malcolm Marcus King the 23d!

The author: The Rev. Eugene F. Rivers III, pastor of Azusa Christian Community.

Amidst his call to go back to the community knitting needles, the dear reverend quotes the "distinguished Harvard historian" Oscar Hanlin:
As long as common memories, experience, and interests make the Negroes a group, they will find it advantageous to organize and act as such, and the society will better be able to accommodate them as equals on those terms than it could under the pretense that integration could wipe out the past.
Amen my white brother, amen -- or whatever Muslims say instead of Amen. Insha' Allah, perhaps?

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