Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 17:42:45 GMT
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Of Marches and Men ...
By Mumia Abu-Jamal, 2 Nocember 1995
Magnificent. Massive, Marvelous,
The Million Man March in Washington, DC was all these things, and more.
Ignored by major (i.e. white) media from the inception, and then vilified once it began to mushroom, it was a day that blacks forced white America to acknowledge their existence and the potential of their power.
Using the authority of the state and the connivance of the media, the first attack was an overt attempt to minimize those massive numbers of men; "400,000... tops," crowed the US Park Service, an incredible affront to any who had eyes, and a "fact" mimicked by every major media outlet from "here to East Jablip"
Is there any wonder why blacks distrust both the police and the white media - when they lie so nakedly?
Dr. Farouk El-Baz, a scientist on loan from the Egyptian government to Boston University, was commissioned to do a computer analysis of the march and found the park service wrong by over 60%! According to Dr., El-Baz over 1,000,000 men were there -initially, 1.1 million!
Later projections were 837,000 men - but with a 20% margin for error, that means over 1,004,000 men - amazing! Astonishing!
How could anyone look at such numbers and not see a million people? How could anyone "lose", or miss, over 600,000 men?
That "how" can be answered by America's historic malady - white supremacy.
As I'm sure many readers have seen, the mass media, almost uniformly, have condemned the Million Man March. Why?
Who condemned the Beijing Women's Conference? Who condemned the gay rights march in DC? These were welcomed and praised by politicians,
The "why" can be answered also by white supremacy, Many criticized the leading participation of Minister Louis Farrakhan, who, in media accounts, appeared to have the title "anti-Semite" as opposed to "Minister", One searches in vain for similar appellations used in published references to the late Rabbi Meir Kahane, who was, beyond doubt, an overt racist and nakedly anti-Arab. Was "Rabbi" ever dropped from his name?
In a nation founded on the fundament of white supremacy, and maintained on that institutional imperative, nothing so threatens their future stability as does the unity of black men. Nothing
One may challenge the lack of political focus of the march, as does this writer, or its tone, as did other writers (notably Herb Boyd of the Amsterdam News, who likened it to a rebirth of Booker T, Washingtonism) but one cannot deny the remarkable success of its organizers, and yes, its chief organizer - Minister Louis Farrakhan
If white readers were surprised by such success, they need to begin to seriously question their chosen media, which consistently depicted him and his influence as marginal: they were lied to, just as surely as the US Park Service lied in their "official" march under counted by over 100% - all served to "comfort" white sensibilities, instead of reporting the truth.
What other black leader in America could have called for a million men to assemble -and have it done? Name him!
That over a million African-American men - more people than populate most American cities - assembled, from every religious, political and ideological persuasion, is a mighty demonstration indeed, but to make it a religious "let-us-be-good" event, as opposed to a political, "let-us-make-others-be-good-to-us" event, gives one cause to pause, as if politics was a no-no.
Where was former Black Panther political prisoner Dhoruba bin-Wahad? Why was my son, Jamal iba Jamal, sabotaged from speaking there? Were they too radical?
Africa-America is not in the hell we are in because we don't pray enough! Blacks are not at the bottom of every socio-economic measure because they are bad people.
The frantic and frenzied comparisons between Farrarkhan and Mark Furhman are far off the mark. Can Farrakhan stop your car on a dark night and order you out of it? Can he kick your door in and go through your personal property at will? Can he take your freedom? Can he beat you? Can he take your life?
Similarly, Boston College professor Elaine Pinderhughes, in Understanding Race Ethnicity and Power (Free Press, 1989) defines racism as an element of "social structure" adding, "belief in superiority of whites and the inferiority of people-of-color based on racial difference is legitimized by societal arrangements that exclude the latter fromresources and power and then blame them for their failures, which are due to lack of access,"
Racism and bias, Professor Pinderhughes explains, are often confused with the other, but they aren't the same thing.
The Million Man March brought a lot out of white America that was unleashed at the sight of so many black men, Such a positive event - such a negative response.