I know how crazy this opening sentence sounds, but … if Louis Farrakhan were not such a Hitler-like Jew-hater and race baiter, he actually would be pretty good.
First of all, if you never before have read anything I have published, first check out the score of op-eds I have published on these pages. Do yourself that favor before reporting me to the ADL (which won’t do you much good anyway because, ever since they replaced Abe Foxman with Jonathan Greenblatt, they have become an Obama operation, not an organization focused on fighting Jew-hatred). And, certainly, that opening sentence is eerily reminiscent of the apocryphal question never really asked at Ford’s Theater: “Yes, but other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how did you like the play?”
But here’s the thing. My careers — serving as a congregational rav (Orthodox rabbi), practicing high-stakes litigation, and writing opinions — all require a Will Rogers-like commitment to understanding “where the other person is coming from.” A good rav should not only be preaching but should be listening to and understanding how each of his congregants came to be what and who they now are. A litigator, whether in deposition or in jury summation, has got to go beyond his own mindset and understand the mindset of other people.
And an opinion writer does best by approaching each subject beyond tunnel vision. So it behooves to grasp why some clearly ignorant fools like a DeSean Jackson of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles or an NBA former basketball star like a Stephen Jackson would have the remarkable blind spots they have in extolling a Louis Farrakhan and even parroting his Jew-hatred and quoting Hitler or defending others who do. (It is less challenging, and therefore less time-worthy, to wonder why a Madonna or a Chelsea Handler would support a Jew-hater who admires Hitler. Those are easy: celebrities like them are idiots in the first instance. Madonna has a gifted singing voice apparently, though I never have heard her except when she told her public that she would like to blow up the White House. She wouldn’t know how, so big deal. And Handler promised to leave America if Trump would be elected in 2016, a public vow she did not understand as she spoke the words. So she also is an idiot. Or, as Minister Farrakhan would say, they both are White Trash.) But what about those Black athletes or the Ice Cube or Nick Cannon-type celebrity who, like 99 percent of the populace, are deeper than Madonna and Chelsea?
In broad terms, there seem to have unfolded two approaches to the unmistakable data that confirm that Black Americans are situated socially below many others in such areas as economic standing, employment figures, education, health, and so many other areas. One approach is taken by the race hustlers — the Jesse Jacksons and Al Sharptons — who have made themselves fabulously, incalculably wealthy over the years by preaching a ministry built on demanding government programs, ranging from cash handouts to extending special reparative advantages. So there emerged the Lyndon Johnson et al. “Great Society” of welfare, food stamps, Section 8 housing, public school community control, college open enrollment and guaranteed admission, “affirmative action,” and such. Moreover, now — after it seems that a half-century of all that has not achieved racial justice successfully and in many ways has set Black Americans even further back — the new era of Societal Greatness would be expanded to defund the police, open the nation’s borders, open the prisons, and pay Reparations to LeBron James, Beyoncé, and Ice Cube.
Alas, with more than 50 years having passed since the mid-1960s, there no longer is much point in debating the theory of whether such programs will work because we see manifestly they did not. By and large, with exceptions — because there always are exceptions to everything — it appears quite demonstrably that the “Great Society” approach has failed the Black community horribly, although it has benefited the likes of Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton very handsomely and has moved the African-American vote away from the Republican Party and into the pockets of the Democrats lock, stock, and barrel. If those Welfare State programs actually had worked, we today would not be hearing calls for newer and more intensified handouts, including the ultimate handouts: “Reparations” in 2020 for actions taken before 1865, to be paid by people whose progenitors were not even living in the “New World” of the Americas back then but instead were themselves desperately struggling to survive persecutions or economic hardships in Europe. The Italians, Irish, Poles, Germans, Jews, Asians, and others who came here during the 19th century were not slave-owners nor even well-to-do but were the desperately downtrodden “wretched refuse” of Europe and Asia who themselves were fleeing potato famines, pogroms, political turmoil during the Age of Metternich, and chaos and poverty. They not only had their hands full trying to survive once they arrived at Ellis Island or California and eventually made their ways to Boston, Cincinnati, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and White ethnic ghettos in New York City, along with West Coast Chinatowns, but many soon found themselves conscripted to fight for the Union and even gave their lives warring against the Confederacy and slavery.
In the end, Great Society “welfare” broke up the American Black family as nothing before had done. Newly disrupted and fragmented one-parent families found themselves condemned to a new poverty, with boys particularly damaged by growing up without fathers at home as role models. The schools, by being ever-increasingly “compassionate” and lowering normative standards, inadvertently deprived new generations of their competitive edge going forward. It all is so tragic. But that half-century of failed government “largesse” has fueled the race hucksters magnificently, as they continue to build on their failed model for success, reaping their own personal gains from federal, state, and municipal governments that pay them off handsomely along with their organizations, while leaving their minions behind, generation after generation. Meanwhile, they obfuscate those minions on the narrative that the Democrats — the so-called “progressives” — are the ones ready to help, doling out tokens from the public bourse, and their public then dutifully reelect Democrats, decade after decade after decade, to dominate the governments and legislatures of their inner failed cities: the lists we all know that include Baltimore, Chicago, Detroit, St. Louis, Memphis, and so many more. It never has worked for Black America until now, and there comes a point where one shakes his or her head and wonders when the victims of the “largesse” will realize it never will, and there needs to be a better way.
Which brings us to Farrakhan. Farrakhan actually promotes the better way. He really does. He accurately does not trust White “largesse” and “compassion” and charity. Indeed, he simply does not trust Whites. Well, more bluntly, he despises Whites as trash. OK, fine, no offense taken — “sticks and stones,” and all that. Thus, instead, Farrakhan promotes Black self-help. Don’t expect the White man (or “Karen”) to do “squat” for you; you have to do it for yourself. You have to get a job and go to work. You have to stay out of jail by living lawfully, honorably, modestly, with dignity. You have to be an example for your kids. The women have to dress modestly and tastefully if they want to be taken seriously and stay out of trouble. Men should wear dignified clothing, even suits with bow ties. It is not about dressing expensively with men’s suits from Harrods and women’s outfits from Armani. It simply is about dressing and comporting oneself gracefully with modesty and dignity.
Farrakhan in that sense is the anti-Sharpton. He does not expect a thing from the government; rather, he believes Blacks can be and inherently are better than White people. Fine with me — and we all have met quite the number of Blacks in our lives who indeed are better than some Whites we have met in our lives. Farrakhan, then, promotes a vision of self-help, hard work, and self-reliance. He distrusts government. Don’t expect help from others, and don’t blame them for your own failings. Instead, look in the mirror. And live right so that you stay out of jail.
It is an excellent message. That is why he finds so much support, for example, among certain Black athletes. What do Black professional athletes uniformly have in common that sets them apart from some others in the greater society?
Give up? OK: Black professional athletes make it by self-reliance, hard work, and meeting the highest expectations in their fields of endeavor without getting a break. They are capitalism’s greatest beneficiaries, multi-millionaires, and no one gave it to them by virtue of anything other than their own uniformly hard work. The NBA may be in lockstep with communist China, and the NFL may be polluted by the toxin of fabulously successful people disrespecting our flag and failing to love the country that has given them what no other country would. But they all have in common that they had to make it in without affirmative action. If “there’s no crying in baseball,” there likewise is no affirmative action in professional football or basketball. If there were, every team would have to include at least 2 percent Jews. The New York teams would have to be 10 or 20 percent Jews. For those who follow the NFL and NBA, it is doubtful that the New York Giants, New York Jets, and New York Knicks could have had a more miserable decade just past if half their teams simply had been comprised of Orthodox rabbinical students. At least they would have had more prayers recited and fewer players arrested or suspended during the off-season.
But there is no affirmative action in the NFL or NBA. Drop enough passes, throw enough interceptions, miss enough free throws, miss enough field goals — and you are gone, with no one giving a flying hoot about your rough childhood, your disadvantages growing up, your rights under the ADA or Title 42. Otherwise, again, all these Jewish and Chinese young men would be explaining to football and basketball team general managers and coaches that they simply never had a chance, growing up athletically underprivileged, that while other kids were on the playground butting heads and dribbling and shooting and passing and running, their Chinese and Jewish mothers were forcing them to stay indoors and practice the violin, then the piano, then to do their math homework, then their spelling words, then memorize their latest lesson about what the spleen does, and then memorize that in 1492 Columbus sailed the ocean blue, and some silversmith supposedly galloped all night yelling “one if by land and two if by sea.” And those kids from India with the spelling words — of course they are underrepresented in the NFL and NBA. No affirmative action in the NBA and NFL.
So Black professional athletes work darned hard to get what they have. They work long hours. They encounter enormous physical demands. To succeed, they risk terrible injuries, and sometimes they even have had to sustain them and then to work incredibly hard for months, even for a year or more, to return from such devastating injuries to peak form. Baseball pitchers need a year and more to return from a Tommy John surgery. A football or basketball player with an ACL injury may be finished, with everything lost, unless he somehow can come back. The New York Giants had an amazing wide receiver named Victor Cruz. Giants fans loved that guy so much. Unlike the arrogant Odell Beckham Jr., who had unique talent but also was a disgusting tramp who would celebrate a touchdown by simulating a dog urinating in the end zone, Victor Cruz was more cultured, sticking with the salsa to celebrate his touchdowns. Then, in one game he suffered a torn patellar tendon, and he never was quite the same again. He devoted two full years to rehab, and he did come back but never was the same and soon was finished.
So I get why some or perhaps many Black professional athletes relate to Louis Farrakhan. They understand that no one gave them what they had to earn on their own. They know first-hand that the greatest success comes from self-reliance, not depending on others for a handout. They relate to that. They know first-hand that it works and that a culture of self-reliance is the only way that any population group ever truly makes it really successfully in America. I really get it.
The paradox of Farrakhan is that, while making lots of sense in one area, he is a Hitler-like Jew-hater. Shucks, a shame. It is what it is. It is not going to change. It is built into his very ideology. Sad, but thus it is. No point in trying to change his mind. It’s like trying to change Hitler’s mind. So let him compare Jews to termites, and just be careful on wood stages. But how to explain his followers among professional Black athletes, rappers, entertainers? Are they really that hateful towards Jews?
In some cases, presumably yes. After all, if there are some White neo-Nazis, there are going to be some Black Nazis. In that regard, all people are created equal. But to posit something radical, the deeper shame is something more fundamental.
Along their way to excelling in sports or rapping or roping or reaping or wrapping or rappelling or repelling or entertaining, although they are nobly self-made in their one area of excellence by virtue of their own hard work, these Black American success stories who quote and defend and retweet Farrakhan seem never to have learned the high school or college subject of actual history. Not only do highly rated and recruited football and basketball athletes in college typically side-step getting an academic education, but nowadays even regular college students manage to walk out of four undergraduate years of 120 credit hours without knowing any real history, not American history and not world history. They would tear down Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Abraham Lincoln, and even abolitionists who died fighting slavery, even a monument in Los Angeles of Raoul Wallenberg of Sweden, who gave his life opposing Hitler, because they have absolutely no education in basic history to show for their $160,000 in taxpayer-funded college loans. They don’t have a clue who Hitler is or was. Two-thirds of American millennials never even have heard of Auschwitz. For all the obsessions others have for building Holocaust museums and monuments from Washington, D.C., to public parks in Los Angeles to a gently sloping hill that ascends to the Tennessee state capitol in Nashville, the bottom line is that the vast majority of the past two generations of college “graduates” would not know the difference between Adolf Hitler, Bette Midler, Batman’s Riddler, and Tevye’s Fiddler.
So, for now, a quick history lesson to DeSean Jackson, Stephen Jackson, Nick Cannon, and Ice Cube: On page 430 of my 1962 paperback Sentry Publishing edition of the 1943 copyrighted Houghton Mifflin edition of Mein Kampf by Mr. Adolf Hitler, the author describes all Black people as “born half apes.” Look it up. Just look up in the index the 10 references to “Negroes” in Mr. Hitler’s book that you and Minister Farrakhan like to quote and retweet. You are quoting from a book that says that each of you — Minister Farrakhan, too — was born genetically a “half ape,” and Mr. Hitler says that is all you ever can be because it is in your blood when you are born. He writes that, even if you learn German and vote for a German party, it still is in your blood, so you remain a “half ape.” Id. at 388-89. (In case you did not learn this, Mr. Hitler saw himself as a German even though he was Austrian. He also saw himself as a fair-haired “Aryan” even though he was short and dark-haired.) On page 188, Mr. Hitler writes of his World War I experience: “In these months, I felt for the first time the whole malice of Destiny which kept me at the front in a position where every ni – – – r might accidentally shoot me to bits.” (I choose not to spell out the evilly hateful “N- word.” You will have to look it up yourself, Messrs. Jackson, Mr. Cannon, and Mr. Cube. It is spelled out fully by Mr. Hitler.)
So if you want to quote Hitler as an authority, be aware that in the same breath and on the same pages he likewise presented himself as an authority that all Black people are genetically “half apes.” Look it up. Any questions?