It can’t be a good thing if Democrats elect Minnesota Fifth District Rep. Keith Ellison to lead the Democratic Party. It would be bad for the country. To borrow a term, Ellison is a bad hombre. When he was on the make in Minneapolis as a local leader and activist on behalf of the Nation of Islam, Ellison had the following to say about his main man (i.e., Louis Farrakhan) in a column he wrote under the name Keith X Ellison for the November 6, 1995 edition of Minneapolis’s Insight News in response to a Star Tribune editorial cartoon criticizing Farrakhan (whole thing posted in “Keith Ellison for dummies”). In the column one can hear Ellison speaking from a place deep inside the Nation of Islam and vaguely threatening consequences if “atonement” is not forthcoming. Analyze this:
Minister Farrakhan is a role model for Black youth; however he is not an anti-semite. He is a sincere, tireless and uncompromising advocate of the Black community and other oppressed peoples in America and around the world. Despite some of the most relentless negative propaganda anyone has ever faced, most Black people regard him as a role model for youth and increasingly, a central voice for our collective aspirations.
I am sensitive to members of the Jewish community who have been lead [sic] to believe that Minister Farrakhan is anti-Jewish. I believe they should do two things: engage in dialogue with Black people who support Minister Farrakhan (which [sic] includes [sic] Cornel West, Jesse Jackson, Ben Chavis, Dorothy Height and many others) and urge their leadership to engage in the dialogue that Minister Farrakhan proposed at the Million Man March.
The White community, however, must come to the realization that there are too many Black people who have been cleaned-up, taught and up-lifted [sic] by Minister Farrakhan for us to let anyone gratuitously insult him anymore. According to a poll commissioned by Time magazine in February, 1994, 70% of all Black people believe Minister Farrakhan is an effective leader; 63% believe he speaks the truth. I am sure these numbers are much higher in the aftermath of the March. In Atlanta in 1992, Minister Farrakhan outdrew a game of the World Series on the same night. In 1993, Minister Farrakhan drew 25,000 to the Jacob Javits Convention Center in New York. It is no accident that Minister Farrakhan’s call for a Million Man March yielding such magnificent results.
If the great gulf between Black and White public opinion is going to be narrowed, it must start with the corporate media having a little more respect for Black leadership, which includes Minister Farrakhan and for Black people collectively. Black people have no history of using the media, the movie industry or any propaganda source, to collectively defame White America. Any student of the media, however, knows all about how the White media has called our very humanity into question. We know about “Birth of a Nation,” the Blacksploitation era of the 70s and all the rest.
Now that Black men have made a commitment to atonement, will the corporate press atone for defaming Black people and Black leaders? Will the Star Tribune atone? The peace depends on your answer.