Has Farrakhan’s stock fallen in the black community? : ThyBlackMan

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Has Farrakhan’s stock fallen in the black community?

October 16, 2010 by  
Filed under News, Opinion, Weekly Columns

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(ThyBlackMan.com) It was vintage Louis Farrakhan. The controversial Nation of Islam leader delivered a free-wheeling, take no prisoners speech at the sold out Atlanta Civic Center speech on June 26 to a wildly cheering audience. He knocked Jews for allegedly controlling the entertainment industry, and lambasted black athletes and entertainers as slaves and racial betrayers. He also said he sent copies of his The Secret Relationship Between Blacks and Jews to various media outlets and members of the Obama administration.

In times past, that would have drawn howls of protests from the Anti-Defamation League, a quick distancing from civil rights leaders, and cries of fowl from black athletes and entertainers. This time it drew barely a ripple of response from the ADL and silence from all other quarters. The muted  response raises one question about Farrakhan. Does he still have the name, cachet, and power to move tens of thousands?

The question and the answer are important for two crucial reasons. Fifteen years ago Farrakhan was the only black leader that had the message and the dynamism to draw a roughly a million plus persons to the largest black gathering ever held on America’s shores — the Million Man March. His leadership was deemed vital enough to move blacks to rally behind the fight against racism, poverty and political apathy. Farrakhan then seemed to fill a significant leadership gap. He was an unchallenged go-to-guy for black America.

That brings up the second reason Farrakhan’s rise and fade from the top black leadership perch is important. With the brief exception of the sole unifying crusade black voters mounted in order to elect Barak Obama, the same political confusion, inertia, and malaise still divides and tears African-Americans apart. The hunger for a leader and organizations that can stir the masses is still just as great.

Farrakhan showed in his Atlanta speech that he can still pack a hall and bring a crowd to their feet with his fiery rhetoric, but that’s no substitute for the type of sustained, focused leadership and planning to combat the HIV/AIDS pandemic, failing inner city public schools, massive black prison incarceration, police abuse and gang and drug violence.

Farrakhan was right for the times two decades ago when there was still the residual vestige of the 1960s militancy, defined in part by black leaders who could deliver rip roaring, give the white man hell speeches. Long after black militants H. Rap Brown, Stokely Carmichael, and Malcolm X, was gone and the Black Panthers, SNCC, and CORE were decimated by government assaults, and self-destructed from infighting and criminal gangsterism, Farrakhan was the last galvanizing militant standing. His longevity and the hunger among blacks for strong, outspoken leadership created the perfect storm for the Million Man March, with him as titular leader. The backlash against Farrakhan’s racially polarizing and frequent anti-Semitic sentiments made him an even more alluring anti-hero to many disenfranchised blacks.

But that was then. A signal that his role as a national galvanizing force has past was the reaction of the Obama campaign when it got wind of Farrakhan’s virtual endorsement of Obama’s presidential bid. A spokesperson for Obama issued a terse dismissal of the endorsement. They did not even mention Farrakhan by name.

Though Farrakhan clearly cannot move racial mountains the way he once did, he’s not totally a fringe figure within the black community. The throng in Atlanta packed the house, and cheered him in his full-throated assault on the usual suspects, Jews, black elite, and racist whites. His most recent columns in the Final Call calling for a national mobilization for Haitian relief effort, denouncing attacks on black leaders, and black organizations, the crucifixion of Michael Jackson and a blistering attack on the Iraq war still punch the hot button political issues.

In times past, black politicians were careful not to actively seek the endorsement of or open support from Farrakhan. But they were just as careful not to say or do anything publicly that could be construed as Farrakhan bashing. The risk was great that they’d be pilloried as sell-outs and Uncle Toms. That fear is gone, not because of any dislike or disdain of Farrakhan, but because black politicians no longer feel any need to make him the focal point attention.

Farrakhan still has the name recognition, and the many years he’s spent on the racial circuit still get a few tongues wagging with his occasional well-placed dig at Jews or whites. But the man who once had the power and charisma to literally move a million blacks to make their pilgrimage of discovery to Washington D.C. is no more. While his place in history for that accomplishment is assured, it’s just a place in history. That’s where Farrakhan’s importance lays today.

Written By Earl Ofari Hutchinson


3 Responses to “Has Farrakhan’s stock fallen in the black community?”
  1. Brother99 says:

    If The Honorable Louis Farrakhan’s Stock has fallen in the eyes of AIA (Africans in America), then our common sense has fallen. Everything The Minister talked about before the MMM is even more relevant today. What has changed is that AIA have totally rejected black nationalism and Pan African-ism as valid political philosophies. We have put all our stock on the Black man in the White House. This is our collective insanity.

    The media and Black elite realize that the only way to “handle” Farrakhan is to turn the cameras and microphones away from him. This…not Black disinterest is the reason he is the invisible man.
    If there was a 24 hour Farrakhan channel the numbers would be through the roof.

    I agree that the Minister missed an opportunity to deliver a clear vision at the march. However, leading up to the march, Min. Farrakhan called for us to invest in it’s Black Investment Fund. How many of us actually visited the Nation Of Islam’s web site where the fund and a strategy for Black empowerment is laid out plainly? Do I hear crickets? The web site should haver been overwhelmed with traffic. It was not.

  2. Brother99 says:

    If The Honorable Louis Farrakhan’s Stock has fallen in the eyes of Africans in America, then our common sense has fallen. Everything The Minister talked about before the MMM is even more relevant today. What has changed is that AIA (Africans in America) have totally rejected black nationalism and Pan African-ism as valid philosophies. This is insanity.

  3. Bro Ron says:

    I totally agree with this article. My question is what the fu*@#k you gon(i no) request the gathering of masses of blacks peoole, based on their dislike of what happened to them and what is happening to them,just so you can exalt yourself!Bull sh&*#t. Then you gone (i No )talk about some d@&*#nm spaceship experience. You freak, you must of lost yur freakn mind,fo sho.My point is can’nt all that energy be used to fine a cure for cancer, or rid ourselves of homelessness,deppression,and unemployment,crime and the host.For somebody who suffered with a fatal disease himself, I would think that, that would have put him front row of the most important resovle of the needs of the people, if he’s to be a black so-called leader of the people.This is no more than a flagrant miss use of power.We need to wake the f@#&ck up.We should gather our resouces for the immediate health concerns for our people so they can live well through out this life. Education and re-education should be a staple for our people. Just about any low income black person who can create and stick to a three to six month buget plan on paper,should be a vauled indidiviual worth while for investing by any worthwhile bank financial institution.This budget keeping practise should be a mandatory instituted process in the black community.We can resolve 98% of our health problems just through the proper education of our people. We must hold one another accountable for our financial success of the hold of our people. No budget no cash.We need to stress self-education first! This is not to the neglect of main stream accademia.With all said and done we need a miracle, and quit these side show events,by these charlatons.Thats religous,political or others wise.Just think if you only had 3 days to live, what would be important to you?Love is stronger than death.Peace and LOVE.

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