Louis Farrakhan is ridiculous. Let me begin by putting that out there. I first came into contact with Minister Farrakhan when I was about 12, when hip-hop stars Ja Rule and 50 Cent sat down for a special â€œmediationâ€ with him on MTV. Rule and 50 were interviewed separately about their â€œbeefâ€ with one another, with Farrakhan left to try to get these rappers to see reason. Sitting on my family room couch, I was watching the special when my mom walked in, saw the TV, and demanded I change the channel. Perplexed, I asked her why. She responded by explaining that, while Farrakhan appeared to be doing good here, he was actually an anti-Semitic racist.
Years later, that incident still sticks in my head: a naÃ¯ve child, thinking what she sees is what she gets, and the reality coming smack dab in the middle. Over the years, Iâ€™ve retained my interest in hip-hop and have heard Farrakhanâ€™s name come up more than once: heâ€™s the leader of the infamous Nation of Islam movement, which has close ties to numerous artists. Iâ€™ve tried to turn the other cheek, not paying attention to artistsâ€™ personal lives, just their music. When Farrakhan gets on his high horse and proclaims that all Jews are enemies to African-Americans, though, that sort of remark is something I canâ€™t ignore.
First, Farrakhan claims that Jews have ties to the Jim Crow laws and slavery. Last time I checked, werenâ€™t most slave-owners in the centuries before civil rights white Christian people? Unfortunately, Iâ€™m sure some Jews did own slaves, but, then again, so did many other groups of people. I donâ€™t see what makes the Jews any more culpable for slavery than the people who started the slave trade, who were, yes, white Christians. Thatâ€™s not to say white Christians should be proclaimed the enemy of the African-American race, but Farrakhan should get his facts right.
Moreover, many Jews during the Civil War were attempting to help free slaves. Thousands of years ago, the Bible says we were ourselves slaves in Egypt. We, too, have been oppressed as a people. Therefore, the connection between Jews and African-Americans feels almost natural. Itâ€™s people helping people, not one race trying to one-up another. Last time I checked, it wasnâ€™t a competition to see who could call each other the most names or something of that sort: freeing people from oppression, no matter whom they are, is a matter of humanity. Jews also fought for the Civil Rights movement, along with African-Americans. Even the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) was founded by a coalition of forward-thinking African-Americans and Jews. Example after example shows that Jews were committed not to keeping African-Americans down, but to helping them attain their basic human rights.
Farrakhan needs to screw his head on properly. If he wants to help people, instead of keeping them down, he shouldnâ€™t condemn Jews, who have most often been the allies of African-Americans, not their enemies, as he claims. I think heâ€™s just looking for a scapegoat. Unfortunately, as it has been so often in the past, that dubious distinction falls on the Jews.