The Wrath of the Farrakhan Question

Video from Talking Points Memo. The Root also has an article about the Farrakhan Question.

I watched some of the debate last night on MSNBC and was pretty disgusted with the gall of Tim Russert’s “Farrakhan” question. Mostly because it made absolutely no sense and seemed to only serve the purpose of reinforcing the giant crazy black Muslim meme the Right and some in the press want to wrap Obama.

I don’t get Tim Russert. Farrakhan? Seriously? Are you going to track down every person with a specious past who vaguely notes that Obama seems like a nice guy and whack Obama over the head with them? This would be different if Obama was cozying up to Farrakhan, calling him up all the time, and taking pictures with him eating bean pies, plastered on the front of the Final Call. But, um, he isn’t! And no one asks any Republican candidates to dump their resident loony toons. They only get in trouble when they get too close to them, like that Cunningham guy who blew up in John McCain’s face Tuesday.

But last time I checked, Farrakhan wasn’t opening up an event for Obama. Farrakhan is not on the stump with Obama. He’s not one of Obama’s advisers. They don’t even know each other. So why was this question brought up if only for a “gotcha” television moment? This question wasn’t about Obama, it was about Russert and his ego.

And about racism.

This is just a glimmer, a portent, of what’s to come. Farrakhan is a divisive, even hated figure among most American whites and Jews. Black people either like him or don’t really think that much of him at all. (Often it depends on your views of Islam or if you think the Nation of Islam was behind Malcolm X’s assassination.) But picking fights with Obama over points like these are part of a larger effort to get Obama to distance himself from black people while prejudicing the white people against him at the same time.

It’s started with the “not black enough” garbage, then warmed up to the Muslim boondoggle, that lead to “Obama’s church is lead by a crazy black nationalist”, followed by “State of the Black Union-gate” which bumped up to the “denounce and repudiate Farrahkan” question.

They will try to paint the most mainstream of men in the colors of a “scary,” black radical Muslim until Obama is covered in a red, black and green “Kill Whitey” flag. And they are going to make him denounce everything about black people that is deemed imprudent or bad. By the time this is done they’ll be calling for him to account for and denounce Jesse n’ Al, Dick Gregory, Kanye West, “gangster rappers”, Black History Month, the NAACP Image Awards, the NAACP, the Black Congressional Caucus, Chuck D., Nat Turner, Kwanzaa, BET, black Greek letter organizations, Dave Chappelle, pastors who claim Jesus was a black man and your grandparents who still toss around the slur “peckerwood” a lot.

The goal is to weaken Obama. It’s to make him blacker than black to scare off whites. To get black people to reject him as he’s forced to reject the people and organizations, the culture black people value.

Well, I’m assuming all this effort must be for the white people because black people have seen this before. It happens whenever a black person runs for office locally and nationally. The black candidate is forced to run the gauntlet of throwing other blacks and black organizations under the bus while trying to get them to still limp to the polls for them afterwards. Black people know this and are prepared for the variety of litmus tests and repudiations of old anti-semitic men and “scary” black nationalist groups. Unlike Cunningham and McCain, I doubt Farrakhan will say anything at all. Obama wants to get elected. Black people want to see him get elected, therefore black folks are not going to get in the way. That’s why people jumped all over Tavis, he didn’t get the “get out of the way” memo. No one wants to hurt Barack’s campaign. We know Barack is a black man. We know he loves and supports his people. We’d love it if he came to the event, but everyone but Tavis seemed to understand why he really couldn’t be there.

So while it annoys my mother every time Barack has to “denounce” some marginal figure in the African American diaspora, I don’t really care. Throw Farrakhan under the bus if it means you’ll get elected. Just don’t forget about the rest of us black folk once you get there.

Goodness. How many more months do we have of this?

10 thoughts on “The Wrath of the Farrakhan Question

  1. I was so pissed off with that question. Why is it so important for him to have to denounce his support anyway? He said he didn’t agree with the negative, anti-semitic comments, and thinks they’re reprehensible! You’re exactly right with what you said. This was just to invoke once again the thought about Obama “being” Muslim. I had a co-worker that thought that he was lying and covering it up until I set her straight on the issue. And you know what, so what if he was Muslim. We talk so much about freedom of religion, but there’s no freedom of religion if you are crucifying someone because they are not Christian, which he is! I don’t normally comment, but that question ticked me off!

  2. The question was just so obvious. I mean, maybe it would have made sense to ask several years back when Farrakhan put together “The Million Man March,” which was, arguably, the last major thing he did. But it seems strange to have to beat up someone over a man who has been off the national spotlight for more than ten years now.To me it’s the equivalent of attacking a conservative because Pat Robertson once gave them a compliment on live television. Does Tim Russert grill white people when folks who are seen as being “meh” by them, but are vehemently hated by others? Don Imus, por ejemplo. Or Rush Limbaugh? Or Strom Thurmond and Jesse Helms (when they were alive)? Or the fellow who runs “Focus on the Family,” Phyllis Schafly, Ann Coulter, Pat Buchanan, Bill O’Riley, Newt Ginrich? If we’re going to start beating people up with the fringes of their respective movements then let the fringe off begin! He without sin can cast the first nutcase!BTW Tiffany: I’m sick of the vilifying of Muslims too. Every time they make Obama explain that he’s a Christian it’s away to disparage Muslims. To make it seem like Obama is rejecting them or his heritage. It just makes Americans look like a bunch of intolerant, religious bigots.And Torrance: Farrakhan doesn’t bother me really, but I can understand why he angers Jews and freaks out white people. His rhetoric has been, um, rather “spirited” in the past. But he’s largely a straw man people like to beat so they can scream “black people are racist too.”I’m like, “well, duh,” but get some perspective. How many white people have the Nation of Islam murdered and disenfranchised? If the Klan had been nothing but a bunch of chatter and bean pies I don’t think race relations in this country would be so prickly.

  3. it’s ludicrous that we always have to “disavow” as if this is some sort of Mission Impossible. White folks know all kinds of “suspect” individuals and don’t get painted w/the same brush.Farrakhan mentions Obama and all of a sudden Obama is an anti-semite? WTF kind of racist ass peddaling is that? Tim Russert is a clown and a bigot.I’m sick and tired of all this nonsense. Sick of it.

  4. Gerald: That is CRAZY. But I’m not surprised. I knew they’d do this and now they have. I just wish the media would stop hyping it like it’s legitimate. They all sound batshit insane.I’m interested to see how the Obama camp will counter these specious, wacko claims. They need to find a way to fight them without giving them any legitimacy. This is where aggressive surrogates for Obama need to come in and take out the MFing trash.

  5. What I also find strange is how white candidates can appeal to only white voters and be seen as a normal candidate. However, black candidates can’t speak to the problems of their black constituents without being labled as “the black candidate”. Sounds like the same white privilege that affects us in everyday society. Blacks candidates have to shun their people, and fully work for and with whites only to be deemed a valid candidate.

  6. The mentioning of Minister Farrakhan was “politics as usual” and in my view was the press’s way of offering a slant to Obama just like was done to Jesse back in 1984 after the “Hymie town” incident. I’m surprised it took them this long to mention the “connection.” This race will not be given to the “swift but he that endureth to the end.” Biblical musings aside, Obama’s response was gracious as some journalists have pointed out. Barack Obama’s perceived “reluctance” was the attempt by white liberal and conservative media to pigeon hole the Illinois senator. It is funny that no one ever questions Bush’s ability to help the Jewish nation since his grandfather helped to bankroll Hitler’s efforts during WWII. Get ready for this thing to get really juvenile with the attacks, but Farrakhan knew that Obama would be put in this difficult position by the Tim Russert’s of the world (htttp:// Additionally, Obama’s pastor, the Rev. Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Jr., was also mentioned in that question last night and this has been done before by FOXNews, calling Wright a “racist”. Yet another display of white ignorance of black theology and spirituality. In the days ahead, Obama will be tried like never before in an effort to force him to distance himself from his culture, his people, and attempt to have him to question himself. If last night was any indication I believe he will be fine.VCM (Negrointellectual)(Sorry for the long comment)

  7. I wasn’t convinced that this was necessarily a ploy to connect Obama with being a Muslim, unlike Crazy Cunningham on his stump speech for Weathervane McCain. However, I think it was merely a ploy, by a Tim Russert who I have respect for, to simply do politics as usual. I mean, historically African Americans have had to denounce Farrakhan.Now, I like Farrakhan, and there’s not much that I have disagreed with him on, but as everybody said and as one of pundits on CNN said, why is it that AA candidates have to denounce Farrakhan, but McCain doesn’t have to denounce a Trent Lott famous for his racist endorsement of Strom Thurmond (thank God that ol’ fool is dead!)?So far this has been a suprisingly quiet political season as far as the attacks go, but I’m wondering was such a public question merely the tip of the iceberg. Now I’m quite insulted at the fact that Obama’s pastor (who’s now retired after 36 years in ministry) was brought into the fray and I think that was more of a low blow than the Farrakhan question. Who in their right mind would ask you to denounce your own pastor?!!?!?! I mean, Obama still has ties to the church and any black person who’s kept up with it would know that Trinity overwhelmingly, but not explicitly, endorses Obama. However, I’m convinced that Farrakahn is quite aware of his divisiveness and takes that particular slight as par for the course in the road to the White House.keep it uppity, JLL

  8. Not this Jew, TBS. I already told you that Farrakhan is pretty low down on my list of concerns. I’ve spent way more time getting irritated about having acid stomach and not being able to find my Maalox in the past couple of days than I’ve spent in an adulthood of knowing who Farrakhan was.And it’s kind of hard to dislike Muslims when I hang out with them every night at the cardroom and the clubs.I only WISH Barack Obama had a little more Michelle Obama in him and a little less Joe Lieberman.

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