Tamika Mallory: 'It doesn't make sense for me to throw away...the Nation of Islam'

What’s the first rule of holes? Someone may want to give Women’s March co-chair Tamika Mallory a clue. After making national news earlier this week for refusing to condemn Louis Farrakhan, Mallory has a new interview out today in which she once again defends the group. From Elle magazine:

I have been caricatured as someone who is an uncritical supporter of Louis Farrakhan and his every word and deed. That is not true. Trust and believe, Minister Farrakhan is clear that I do not agree with everything that he says.

For decades I have focused on anti-violence efforts in black communities. My son’s father was murdered. I am committed to working with deeply marginalized people to address the realities of gun violence. I often work with young black men in prisons. In this space I find myself working closely with people who have many attitudes, beliefs, and ideas that I disagree with, but the black experience is varied and I have to be open to all of it. To be effective when organizing people who have been discarded by society it does not make sense for me to throw away an organization—like the Nation of Islam—that has been very effective at reaching the hearts and minds of young black men to turning them away from violence.

Other people are obsessed with my relationship with Minister Farrakhan. I am obsessed with empowerment in the black community.

So let’s just walk through this for a moment. Mallory is saying she doesn’t agree with everything Farrakhan says but she still likes what he’s doing for black men in prison. Here’s why that answer doesn’t make any sense.

First, if she really disagreed with Farrakhan’s anti-Semitism, it would be easy for her to say so. But as we saw on television this week, she refuses to do that. Even here in this interview, she claims she is a critic of Farrakhan, but the reader has to infer from the context what she’s talking about. She won’t simply say that he’s anti-Semitic and that’s bad. She won’t even mention anti-Semitism in the same sentence with his name. So that’s point one. She’s not just defending the (alleged) good done by the Nation of Islam, she’s also refusing to criticize the anti-Semite who leads it.

Turning incarcerated men away from violence sounds good, but what is the Nation of Islam turning them toward? Answer: Toward Louis Farrakhan’s brand of Islam and its racist views about Jews and white people. How can the work the Nation of Islam is doing in prisons be good if the result is black men who sit and applaud (or laugh) when he refers to Jews as “termites”? Isn’t the outcome of this prison rehabilitation more people who think like Louis Farrakhan? Isn’t that a problem?

In fact, it’s not very difficult to prove the apples aren’t falling very far from the tree. The Nation of Islam’s Final Call newspaper has been covering the upcoming Women’s March. Here’s the opening of a piece it published last week (h/t CNSNews):

After increasingly successful events in 2017 and 2018; the 2019 Women’s March has been injured, but continues proceeding toward Jan. 19, despite efforts by Jewish and White women to sabotage the movement’s strong, non-White leadership attempting to use the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan of the Nation of Islam, as a wedge.

It’s the Jewish and white saboteurs! If this is the kind of clap-trap the Nation of Islam teaches, why is Mallory defending it? One possible answer: She believes it too.