Women's March Leader Attended Racist Hate Group Events for 30 Years

Women's March leader Tamika Mallory came under fire for her appearance at an event of the racist hate group, the Nation of Islam, and for appearing with its leader, Louis Farrakhan, who had praised Hitler. Farrakhan's speech was full of anti-Semitic references. After initial complaints about being bullied (essentially the same response as #TimesUp's Amber Tamblyn).

Now Tamika is offering a more comprehensive defense. And by defense, I mean some combination of arm waving, some of my best friends are gay black Jewish women, and Obama's Wright speech.

She insists that she doesn't share the Nation of Islam's racist views, but nor is she willing to meaningfully condemn them. Instead she informs us that she's been attending them for most of her life.

"I didn’t expect my presence at Saviour’s Day to lead anyone to question my beliefs, especially considering that I have been going to this event regularly for over 30 years. I first went with my parents when I was just a little girl, and would begin attending on my own after my son’s father was murdered nearly 17 years ago. In that most difficult period of my life, it was the women of the Nation of Islam who supported me and I have always held them close to my heart for that reason."

That's not a defense. It's more of an indictment.

I'm sure there are some people who attended KKK events and found emotional support there. But we don't treat that as a meaningful defense. Especially when you're the face of an activist group already facing accusations of anti-Semitism.

I am the same person today that I was before Saviour’s Day, which begs the question – why are my beliefs being questioned now?

Because you got caught?

Where my people are is where I must also be. I go into difficult spaces. I attend meetings with police and legislators—the very folks so much of my protest has been directed towards. I’ve partnered and sat with countless groups, activists, religious leaders and institutions over the past 20 years. I’ve worked in prisons as well as with present and former gang members.

Never mind the analogy between police officers and a racist hate group. The Women's March has tried to pass this off as a bridge building exercise before. Except that Tamika admitted going to a hate group's events for most of her life. She was there while Farrakhan said racist things. And she has yet to clearly condemn him for it. Instead she disavows those views indirectly.

If this is bridge building, then the bridge is being built toward racists rather than toward their victims.

It is impossible for me to agree with every statement or share every viewpoint of the many people who I have worked with or will work with in the future. As I do not wish to be held responsible for the words of others when my own history shows that I stand in opposition to them, 

This is the kind of garbage that politicians say when they get caught in bed with utterly unacceptable people. 

You can't hold me responsible for spending 30 years attending the events of a racist cult that believes everyone who isn't black is subhuman. 

Chloe Valdary makes an important and accurate point about the intersection between the Nation of Islam and intersectionality.