i read this a few times trying to make sense of it but as usual... s.c. has me befuddled.. i post it here for your approval or rejection...
By Stanley Crouch
Monday, July 19th 2010, 4:00 AM
I do not think that the NAACP was out of order in asking the Tea Party movement to separate itself from the racists in its midst, but the famous civil rights organization ought to start by following the same suggestion.
During the great March On Washington in August of 1963, the Nation of Islam was not invited. Its members were not bothered because Malcolm X was to become a bit more famous by ridiculing the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the whole affair as a meaningless piece of theater held in check by the almighty white man.
But by the end of the decade, the civil rights movement had fallen to pieces shortly after King's assassination in 1968. Black Power emerged and whites were discouraged from joining or attempting to join anything supposedly free of white control.
Integration was out, self-segregation was in. That's the way it actually was.
This was intellectual pollution. It is now known as "identity politics." A toxic form of pretension, it had certain memorable ingredients. They were all conveniently superficial. Big hair styles, name changes, African clothing, combat boots, reading the combative works of Frantz Fanon and just about anyone from anywhere in the world ready to call white people dirty names and blame capitalist Western culture for the troubles of the planet.
"Unity" became the loud call and was thought capable of putting color prejudice in its place. All black people needed to do was cease going in a number of separate directions. It was no longer time to come to Jesus; it was time to come together! Color was the ultimate reality, they said; the white man could maintain power only if black people kept spinning their wheels on separate paths.
That was the point at which previously unacceptable racist cults like the Nation of Islam became acceptable. Those brothers and sisters must have been doing something right because the white man didn't like them. Hmmm. Shoddy thinking, but pervasive.
Many have now conveniently forgotten just what The Nation of Islam believed and why it was an offense to serious political engagement. Before falling out with the cult, Malcolm X clarified its beliefs as the Nation's most popular spokesman. His attacks on the cult seem to have led directly to his assassination, if we are to believe what Louis Farrakhan says in the film "Brother Minister."
According to the X-man, the Nation had taught him nothing but lies he felt compelled to repudiate. The Nation believed that the white man was a "grafted" creature made in a laboratory by a mad black scientist named Yakub. The loony scientist did the dirty deed 6,000 years ago, intent on destroying the world. "Mother ships" were circling the Earth and waiting for the cosmic order to rain fire on the United States, which was prophesied to burn for 777 years. And so on.
Neither King nor any reputable people doing serious work would have anything to do with the Nation of Islam. It was too racist and too much of an intellectual embarrassment.
Over the years, many things have changed. The Black Power era is largely forgotten. The various "Afrocentric" cults and costumes are now little more than subjects for political science classes. Black Power is now a silly blip of "history," and we know how little Americans know or care about history, especially if it is not pleasant.
It would surprise us all if Ben Jealous, who now heads the NAACP, were to stop appearing as part of televised forums with Louis Farrakhan, such as the one Tavis Smiley organized last spring in Chicago.
Were Jealous and the rest disturbed and vocal about Farrakhan's presence, it would suggest some actual integrity of the sort we are not accustomed to hearing from "black leaders" and "public intellectuals." Racial complaint has become too lucrative a hustle, and a hustler must always remain true to the game. Principles never sell as well as slogans.
email@example.comThe Nation of Islam is built on racism and lies
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