Barack Obama to Khalid Muhammad: Two Degrees of Separation

John Podhoretz and Patterico highlight a close connection between Barack Obama and Khalid Muhammad. Obama, as we know, was a disciple of Derrick Bell; in the video that released a few days ago, he urged his listeners to open their hearts and minds to Bell’s teachings. So, what were Bell’s teachings?

Bell was a fervent admirer of Louis Farrakhan and Khalid Muhammad of the Nation of Islam. Podhoretz quotes a 1994 interview in which Bell said, “We should really appreciate the Louis Farrakhans and the Khalid Muhammads while we’ve got them.” Our readers are well aware of the repellent Farrakhan, but who was Khalid Muhammad? Patterico gives us Muhammad’s “Kill the Cracker” speech, in which Muhammad, whom Derrick Bell so admired, advocated genocide:

Muhammad gave his “kill them all” speech in 1993, and was famous for it in the circles in which Derrick Bell moved when Bell said, in 1994, that “we should really appreciate” Khalid Muhammad. [UPDATE: This YouTube video is from a reprise, circa 1996, of Muhammad’s 1993 speech; you can see the 1993 speech, where Muhammad first said, “We kill the women. We kill the children. We kill the babies. We kill the blind. We kill the crippled. We kill the [imitates a crazy person]. We kill ‘em all. We kill the faggots. We kill the lesbians. We kill them all.” at the Patterico link.]

What else was Muhammad known for?

He officially took the name Khalid Abdul Muhammad in 1983, when Louis Farrakhan named him Khalid (meaning “great warrior”) in honor of Khalid ibn Walid, a famous seventh-century general of Islam. In 1985 Farrakhan appointed Muhammad to be NOI’s National Spokesman and Representative….

Muhammad referred to Jews as people whose ancestors were cannibals who “crawled around on all fours in the caves and hills of Europe” and “slept in [their] urination and [their] defecation … for 2,000 years.” He characterized contemporary Jews as “slumlords in the black community” who were busy “sucking our [blacks’] blood on a daily and consistent basis.” He said that Jews had provoked Adolf Hitler when they “went in there, in Germany, the way they do everywhere they go, and they supplanted, they usurped.” And he declared that blacks, in retribution against South African whites of the apartheid era, should “kill the women,…kill the children,…kill the babies,…kill the blind,…kill the crippled,…kill the faggot,…kill the lesbian,…kill them all.”

On subsequent occasions, Muhammad praised Colin Ferguson, a black man who had shot some twenty white and Asian commuters (killing six of them) in a racially motivated 1993 shooting spree aboard a New York commuter train, as a hero who possessed the courage to “just kill every goddamn cracker that he saw.” He advised blacks that “[t]here are no good crackers, and if you find one, kill him before he changes.”

So: Barack Obama was a very public admirer of Derrick Bell, and Bell was a very public admirer of the genocidal Khalid Muhammad. There is at least one more connection that may be relevant:

In 1998 Muhammad became Chairman of the New Black Panther Party (NBPP), which evolved from a number of small, loosely connected groups in Milwaukee and Dallas that had been established around 1989 by Aaron Michaels. … Muhammad continued his work with NBPP, striving to foster interracial hatred and ultimately a full-blown race war in the United States, until he died unexpectedly of a brain aneurysm on February 17, 2001, at the age of 53, in Atlanta.

It was, of course, members of the New Black Panther party in Philadelphia who had been convicted of voter intimidation in 2009 when Barack Obama’s Department of Justice made the extraordinary decision to drop the case even though it had already been won as a result of the defendants’ default.

It is noteworthy, too, that the relevant events outlined above occurred in the same time period. It was 1990 when Obama publicly endorsed Derrick Bell, and he continued to be a Bell acolyte through his graduation from law school in 1991, and no doubt beyond then: he has never made any attempt to distance himself from Bell’s racist theories or to criticize Bell in any way. Louis Farrakhan was notorious long before then, and Khalid Muhammad was the Nation of Islam’s National Spokesman by 1985. He gave his infamous “kill them all” speech in 1993, and Bell endorsed him (and, implicitly, the “kill them all” speech) in 1994. At no time has Barack Obama ever disavowed his radical associations of those days. Nor were these youthful follies; Obama was within two months of 30 years old when he graduated from law school.

On Thursday, I posed the question whether the video that the Breitbart organization brought to light just days after Andrew’s death was a “dud,” as liberals claim. The brief video showing Obama endorsing, and then hugging, Derrick Bell was not in itself spectacular. But Obama’s unqualified support of Bell sheds considerable light on the president’s world-view, given Bell’s long track record of promulgating racist theories and endorsing far-out, homicidal radicals like Khalid Muhammad. So maybe Andrew will have the last laugh.

All of which should be taken within this larger context: Barack Obama has now been president for more than three years. While his background and philosophy continue to be relevant, and can shed light on the decisions that his administration has made, the 2012 election will be, and should be, fought on Obama’s record as president. The unsavory associations of his earlier years are certainly relevant; we should not forget, for example, that Obama was 34 years old when he launched his first campaign in Bill Ayers’s and Bernadine Dohrn’s living room, at a time when Dohrn’s enthusiastic approval of the Charles Manson murders was well-remembered. But in order to be meaningful to voters, Obama’s radicalism must be linked to the actions he and his appointees have taken since January 2009.

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