As a waitress said in Steve Martin’s classic movie Leap of Faith (upon seeing the traveling troupe arrive in her diner), I can smell trouble like s*** on a griddle. There is a distressing undercurrent forming in the ongoing discussions of the racial tensions in Ferguson. One of the clearest examples of it was turned up by the Daily Caller, who caught wind of a speech given by Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan as he whipped up the crowd. Be aware up front that there is nothing here about “peaceful protest” and nonviolent disobedience. This is an all out call to war.
Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan went on a fiery tirade about Ferguson on Saturday — threatening that if the demands of protesters aren’t met, “we’ll tear this goddamn country apart!”
Farrakhan stated in his speech — given at Morgan State University, a black college located in Baltimore, Md. — that violence was justified in response to the decision not to indict officer Darren Wilson and peaceful protests are only in the interest of “white folks.”
“We going to die anyway. Let’s die for something,” the radical figure told the crowd to roaring applause.
He even said the parents of teenagers should teach their kids how to throw Molotov cocktails. “Teach your baby how to throw the bottle if they can. Fight,” the minister advised, and then imitated throwing the explosive device.
In this first segment of video, out around the 4:45 mark, note how Farrakhan quotes Elijah Muhammad from half a century ago, saying, “If ten million of us die, ten million of us will be left to go free.” He goes on to hold up the Nation of Islam version of the Koran and say that there is “a law for retaliation. Like for like. An eye, a tooth, a life. As long as they kill us, and go to Wendy’s and have a burger and go to sleep, they gonna keep killing us. But when we die and they die then soon we gonna sit at a table and talk about, we tired, we want some of this Earth or we will tear this G** damn country up.”
The crowd comes to their feet and the response is deafening.
This second, longer segment really gets into some high tension preaching. In it, Farrakhan chastises the “cowardly, punktified” (sorry, that’s as close as I could come to spelling it) leaders of the young generation of black men and women for failing to lead them into battle, choosing instead to lead them into the arms of “their enemy.” The enemy in question is presumably either law enforcement or the white population in general.
While I was preparing the material for this article I had the television turned on to CNN in the background. There was a young teacher speaking to the show host, extolling the importance of “this moment” and how eagerly everyone wanted to find valuable methods of talking to children about ways to effect positive social change and to avoid “future incidents like the tragic death of Michael Brown.” The jarring discord between the audio of Farrakhan coming through my headphones and the speeches on CNN were instructive.
There are lots of conversations taking place about Ferguson. Some of them are indeed positive, or at least sticking to the message of following the rules of law. But underneath all of that, I think we would be rather naive to believe that Farrakhan is speaking in a vacuum. The response from his university audience was somewhat chilling to say the least.