Why was Louis Farrakhan, the racist leader of the Nation of Islam, which even most of the left will acknowledge is a racist hate group, a few steps away from Bill Clinton, front and center, at Aretha Franklin’s funeral?
The same reason he was at a Congressional Black Caucus meeting smiling with Obama.
The same reason top Black Lives Matter and Women’s March figures either praise him or refuse to disavow him.
Farrakhan is a racist and an anti-Semite. He has praised Hitler, suggested that Jews were using pot to make black men gay, and spewed every possible hateful and ugly thing that the left claims to disavow. But while he may in theory be unacceptable in society, he is a major and mainstream figure within the black community. That’s why scenes like these keep playing out.
The Dems have a winking relationship with Farrakhan. They meet with him quietly and pretend he’s not there most of the time. They call him Minister Farrakhan when they’re asked to disavow him. And Calypso Louie keeps on grinning because he’s got photos with them.
Just like he did with Obama.
And when he feels like it, he can release them.
Farrakhan’s existence, his prominence, puts the lie to the myth that racism is an exclusively white problem. And the only way for the left to deal with that is a combination of whataboutism and ignoring the issue.
But Farrakhan is a symptom. He’s front and center because sizable portions of the black community, including its elites, want him there. He’s there because black leaders, new and old, reckon with his influence, or find him inspiring, including the new generation like Tamika Mallory. And yes, that includes his virulent racism and anti-Semitism. It all fits into the black nationalist package.
The problem isn’t Farrakhan. The problem is tolerance for racism in the black community internally and tolerance for it externally on the left. Without those things, Farrakhan wouldn’t have been standing a few feet away from a former president.
The black community has a racism problem. Farrakhan is the symptom.