Malcolm X and Modern Community Civil Rights Leaders Honored in Davis

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In 2005, the Davis City Council acting on a recommendation from the Davis Human Relations commission passed a proclamation to recognize and celebrate the birthday of Malcolm X on May 19. This proclamation was approved and signed by Mayor Ruth Asmundson.

Among the provisions in that proclamation was a recognition of the role of Islam and an awareness of the importance of Malcolm X to the broader population of America:

“Whereas, Malcolm X has become a legend and a hero for Black and White youth alike. No one Black man has so captured the imagination and allegiance of BLack young people as has Malcolm X.”

When the Human Relations Commission drew up a similar proposal for 2006, however, Don Saylor objected and was joined by Ruth Asmundson and Ted Puntillo in voting against such a recognition. Sue Greenwald and Stephen Souza abstained but did not object.

Bill Calhoun, a long time African American resident and among the first African American teachers in Davis, sat on the HRC. He was outraged by both the decision to oppose a Malcolm X Proclamation and by the way way the Council treated the issue during the meeting.

As a result, last year, Bill Calhoun out of his own pocket, rented the council chambers and presented a movie on the life of Malcolm X that over fifty members of the community attended.

It is unfortunate the Davis City Council has not seen fit to both honor a civil rights leader but also to educate the community about who Malcolm X was and what he stood for. What a lot of people forget is that Malcolm X himself had come to see the errors of some of his ways and embraced a much more peaceful and inclusive message prior to his death, and it were those views that in many ways led to his untimely death.

We have had in this community an incident where the misconceptions about Malcolm X led to very serious consequence. The student who was suspended for that incident was awarded on Saturday evening and he said as the result of the incident and his speech, many students have come up to him and said that this caused them to learn much more about who Malcolm X was and many in fact, had not heard of Malcolm X prior to the incident. This was a seminal figure in American history and we are not educating out children about his role–the good and the bad. The City of Davis has not helped in that educational capacity and the manner in which they pulled this man’s celebration from their long list of recognitions.

This year, Mr. Calhoun was able to secure the Library Blanchard Hall for the event. In addition to the movie, Mr. Calhoun award a number of individuals and groups for civil rights achievements.

This included:

Human Rights Award: Sue Chan
Civil Rights Award: Dean Johansson
Outstanding Student Leader Award: Hui-Ling Malone
Outstanding Courage Award: Jamal Buzayan and Mohamed Buzayan
Lifetime Achievement Award: Richard and Elaine Patterson
Outstanding Student Organization Award: DHS Black Student Union

Upcoming Event:

A reminder that tonight at the DHS Multippurpose Room at 7 PM will be a presentation by Catalysts for Social Justice (formerly Youth in Focus) who will discuss “Growing Up Bricial in Davis.

—Doug Paul Davis reporting

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About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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120 thoughts on “Malcolm X and Modern Community Civil Rights Leaders Honored in Davis”

  1. Rich Rifkin

    “What a lot of people forget is that Malcolm X himself had come to see the errors of some of his ways and embraced a much more peaceful and inclusive message prior to his death, and it were those views that in many ways led to his untimely death.”

    I don’t deny in the least that Malcolm X was a brilliant speaker and someone who inspired many African-Americans who were looking for help in the face of racist institutions that had impaired their progress for many years. Everything he did and stood for was not terrible.

    However, Malcolm, who was actually known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz when he died, lived just under 40 years. And for only about 10 months of his life was he ‘inclusive.’ Prior to that, Malcom X was an outspoken rejectionist of the mainstream civil rights movement, and the work of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. While King and the other southern ministers were preaching love and reconciliation, Malcolm X was preaching just the opposite.

    Therefore, it’s strange that you would emphasize his ‘inclusive message.’

    In 1952, Malcolm X joined the racist and avowedly anti-Semitic Nation of Islam cult — which, it should be emphasized, is not any kind of mainstream Muslim faith — and stayed a part of that group until 1964, acting as a spokesman and spiritual leader for the Nation. For much of his adult life prior to joining the Nation, Malcolm had been a criminal.

    His renunciation of the anti-inclusive, racist nature of the NOI came only 10 months before he was killed, in all likelihood by leaders of the Nation, possibly by Louis Farrakhan.

    As an important public figure for his times, Malcolm X deserves to be studied and understood. His extremism and rejectionism, while never mainstream among black leaders, needs to be understood in the context of the brutal conditions so many black Americans faced in those days. But celebrated? Honored? No. Malcolm X does not deserve to be celebrated, no more than we need to honor or celebrate George Wallace, who ultimately renounced his segregationist message or David Duke, if he ever gets around to renouncing his racist message.

  2. Rich Rifkin

    “What a lot of people forget is that Malcolm X himself had come to see the errors of some of his ways and embraced a much more peaceful and inclusive message prior to his death, and it were those views that in many ways led to his untimely death.”

    I don’t deny in the least that Malcolm X was a brilliant speaker and someone who inspired many African-Americans who were looking for help in the face of racist institutions that had impaired their progress for many years. Everything he did and stood for was not terrible.

    However, Malcolm, who was actually known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz when he died, lived just under 40 years. And for only about 10 months of his life was he ‘inclusive.’ Prior to that, Malcom X was an outspoken rejectionist of the mainstream civil rights movement, and the work of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. While King and the other southern ministers were preaching love and reconciliation, Malcolm X was preaching just the opposite.

    Therefore, it’s strange that you would emphasize his ‘inclusive message.’

    In 1952, Malcolm X joined the racist and avowedly anti-Semitic Nation of Islam cult — which, it should be emphasized, is not any kind of mainstream Muslim faith — and stayed a part of that group until 1964, acting as a spokesman and spiritual leader for the Nation. For much of his adult life prior to joining the Nation, Malcolm had been a criminal.

    His renunciation of the anti-inclusive, racist nature of the NOI came only 10 months before he was killed, in all likelihood by leaders of the Nation, possibly by Louis Farrakhan.

    As an important public figure for his times, Malcolm X deserves to be studied and understood. His extremism and rejectionism, while never mainstream among black leaders, needs to be understood in the context of the brutal conditions so many black Americans faced in those days. But celebrated? Honored? No. Malcolm X does not deserve to be celebrated, no more than we need to honor or celebrate George Wallace, who ultimately renounced his segregationist message or David Duke, if he ever gets around to renouncing his racist message.

  3. Rich Rifkin

    “What a lot of people forget is that Malcolm X himself had come to see the errors of some of his ways and embraced a much more peaceful and inclusive message prior to his death, and it were those views that in many ways led to his untimely death.”

    I don’t deny in the least that Malcolm X was a brilliant speaker and someone who inspired many African-Americans who were looking for help in the face of racist institutions that had impaired their progress for many years. Everything he did and stood for was not terrible.

    However, Malcolm, who was actually known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz when he died, lived just under 40 years. And for only about 10 months of his life was he ‘inclusive.’ Prior to that, Malcom X was an outspoken rejectionist of the mainstream civil rights movement, and the work of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. While King and the other southern ministers were preaching love and reconciliation, Malcolm X was preaching just the opposite.

    Therefore, it’s strange that you would emphasize his ‘inclusive message.’

    In 1952, Malcolm X joined the racist and avowedly anti-Semitic Nation of Islam cult — which, it should be emphasized, is not any kind of mainstream Muslim faith — and stayed a part of that group until 1964, acting as a spokesman and spiritual leader for the Nation. For much of his adult life prior to joining the Nation, Malcolm had been a criminal.

    His renunciation of the anti-inclusive, racist nature of the NOI came only 10 months before he was killed, in all likelihood by leaders of the Nation, possibly by Louis Farrakhan.

    As an important public figure for his times, Malcolm X deserves to be studied and understood. His extremism and rejectionism, while never mainstream among black leaders, needs to be understood in the context of the brutal conditions so many black Americans faced in those days. But celebrated? Honored? No. Malcolm X does not deserve to be celebrated, no more than we need to honor or celebrate George Wallace, who ultimately renounced his segregationist message or David Duke, if he ever gets around to renouncing his racist message.

  4. Rich Rifkin

    “What a lot of people forget is that Malcolm X himself had come to see the errors of some of his ways and embraced a much more peaceful and inclusive message prior to his death, and it were those views that in many ways led to his untimely death.”

    I don’t deny in the least that Malcolm X was a brilliant speaker and someone who inspired many African-Americans who were looking for help in the face of racist institutions that had impaired their progress for many years. Everything he did and stood for was not terrible.

    However, Malcolm, who was actually known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz when he died, lived just under 40 years. And for only about 10 months of his life was he ‘inclusive.’ Prior to that, Malcom X was an outspoken rejectionist of the mainstream civil rights movement, and the work of people like Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King, Jr. While King and the other southern ministers were preaching love and reconciliation, Malcolm X was preaching just the opposite.

    Therefore, it’s strange that you would emphasize his ‘inclusive message.’

    In 1952, Malcolm X joined the racist and avowedly anti-Semitic Nation of Islam cult — which, it should be emphasized, is not any kind of mainstream Muslim faith — and stayed a part of that group until 1964, acting as a spokesman and spiritual leader for the Nation. For much of his adult life prior to joining the Nation, Malcolm had been a criminal.

    His renunciation of the anti-inclusive, racist nature of the NOI came only 10 months before he was killed, in all likelihood by leaders of the Nation, possibly by Louis Farrakhan.

    As an important public figure for his times, Malcolm X deserves to be studied and understood. His extremism and rejectionism, while never mainstream among black leaders, needs to be understood in the context of the brutal conditions so many black Americans faced in those days. But celebrated? Honored? No. Malcolm X does not deserve to be celebrated, no more than we need to honor or celebrate George Wallace, who ultimately renounced his segregationist message or David Duke, if he ever gets around to renouncing his racist message.

  5. Nikki Smith

    Malcolm X’s father was murdered (tied to train tracks). His mother went insane and was institutionalized. He had the misfortune of being a young Black man in America with no parents.

    He committed crimes, and unlike most convicted criminals, came out of prison a better man. He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.

    I don’t condone everything he did, but he should absolutely be honored and celebrated. He is a role model, especially for those who have gone down the wrong path. There is always hope and opportunity for self-improvement.

    While a member of the Nation of Islam, he helped African-Americans organize themselves and led the fight for social justice. Not all African-Americans agreed with the teachings of Dr. King, because the horrors they had experienced prevented them from feeling love for their white “brothers.” The Nation of Islam had a large following because there was a need. They weren’t just a bunch of rowdy criminals. They were people who felt like the fight for justice had to be fought more forcefully.

    As Malcolm X continued his journey through life, he found peace and had experiences that allowed him to accept all kinds of people. His pilgrimage to Mecca was pivotal.

    While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.

    His metamorphasis in his short 40 years was amazing by any standards. If you factor in his lack of a family, traumatic experiences, the negative social influences, the social injustices and the fact that he was black man, it is almost a miracle.

    Not only should we remember him, we should teach about him as part of American History. We should have a day to honor him and celebrate his accomplishments. Some districts have chosen to have a holiday in his honor and/or name schools after him (and they aren’t even continuation schools!!).

    We need to broaden our scope here in Davis.

  6. Nikki Smith

    Malcolm X’s father was murdered (tied to train tracks). His mother went insane and was institutionalized. He had the misfortune of being a young Black man in America with no parents.

    He committed crimes, and unlike most convicted criminals, came out of prison a better man. He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.

    I don’t condone everything he did, but he should absolutely be honored and celebrated. He is a role model, especially for those who have gone down the wrong path. There is always hope and opportunity for self-improvement.

    While a member of the Nation of Islam, he helped African-Americans organize themselves and led the fight for social justice. Not all African-Americans agreed with the teachings of Dr. King, because the horrors they had experienced prevented them from feeling love for their white “brothers.” The Nation of Islam had a large following because there was a need. They weren’t just a bunch of rowdy criminals. They were people who felt like the fight for justice had to be fought more forcefully.

    As Malcolm X continued his journey through life, he found peace and had experiences that allowed him to accept all kinds of people. His pilgrimage to Mecca was pivotal.

    While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.

    His metamorphasis in his short 40 years was amazing by any standards. If you factor in his lack of a family, traumatic experiences, the negative social influences, the social injustices and the fact that he was black man, it is almost a miracle.

    Not only should we remember him, we should teach about him as part of American History. We should have a day to honor him and celebrate his accomplishments. Some districts have chosen to have a holiday in his honor and/or name schools after him (and they aren’t even continuation schools!!).

    We need to broaden our scope here in Davis.

  7. Nikki Smith

    Malcolm X’s father was murdered (tied to train tracks). His mother went insane and was institutionalized. He had the misfortune of being a young Black man in America with no parents.

    He committed crimes, and unlike most convicted criminals, came out of prison a better man. He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.

    I don’t condone everything he did, but he should absolutely be honored and celebrated. He is a role model, especially for those who have gone down the wrong path. There is always hope and opportunity for self-improvement.

    While a member of the Nation of Islam, he helped African-Americans organize themselves and led the fight for social justice. Not all African-Americans agreed with the teachings of Dr. King, because the horrors they had experienced prevented them from feeling love for their white “brothers.” The Nation of Islam had a large following because there was a need. They weren’t just a bunch of rowdy criminals. They were people who felt like the fight for justice had to be fought more forcefully.

    As Malcolm X continued his journey through life, he found peace and had experiences that allowed him to accept all kinds of people. His pilgrimage to Mecca was pivotal.

    While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.

    His metamorphasis in his short 40 years was amazing by any standards. If you factor in his lack of a family, traumatic experiences, the negative social influences, the social injustices and the fact that he was black man, it is almost a miracle.

    Not only should we remember him, we should teach about him as part of American History. We should have a day to honor him and celebrate his accomplishments. Some districts have chosen to have a holiday in his honor and/or name schools after him (and they aren’t even continuation schools!!).

    We need to broaden our scope here in Davis.

  8. Nikki Smith

    Malcolm X’s father was murdered (tied to train tracks). His mother went insane and was institutionalized. He had the misfortune of being a young Black man in America with no parents.

    He committed crimes, and unlike most convicted criminals, came out of prison a better man. He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.

    I don’t condone everything he did, but he should absolutely be honored and celebrated. He is a role model, especially for those who have gone down the wrong path. There is always hope and opportunity for self-improvement.

    While a member of the Nation of Islam, he helped African-Americans organize themselves and led the fight for social justice. Not all African-Americans agreed with the teachings of Dr. King, because the horrors they had experienced prevented them from feeling love for their white “brothers.” The Nation of Islam had a large following because there was a need. They weren’t just a bunch of rowdy criminals. They were people who felt like the fight for justice had to be fought more forcefully.

    As Malcolm X continued his journey through life, he found peace and had experiences that allowed him to accept all kinds of people. His pilgrimage to Mecca was pivotal.

    While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.

    His metamorphasis in his short 40 years was amazing by any standards. If you factor in his lack of a family, traumatic experiences, the negative social influences, the social injustices and the fact that he was black man, it is almost a miracle.

    Not only should we remember him, we should teach about him as part of American History. We should have a day to honor him and celebrate his accomplishments. Some districts have chosen to have a holiday in his honor and/or name schools after him (and they aren’t even continuation schools!!).

    We need to broaden our scope here in Davis.

  9. davisite

    The Malcolm X narrative is a story that should be told to every youngster as they grow up. Malcolm X’s birthday is as good a reason and time as any..I would guess that he would have been outraged to be celebrated and raised to hero-worship level. Rather than “celebrating” Malcolm X’s birthday, call it The Journey of Malcolm X-An American Tale.

  10. davisite

    The Malcolm X narrative is a story that should be told to every youngster as they grow up. Malcolm X’s birthday is as good a reason and time as any..I would guess that he would have been outraged to be celebrated and raised to hero-worship level. Rather than “celebrating” Malcolm X’s birthday, call it The Journey of Malcolm X-An American Tale.

  11. davisite

    The Malcolm X narrative is a story that should be told to every youngster as they grow up. Malcolm X’s birthday is as good a reason and time as any..I would guess that he would have been outraged to be celebrated and raised to hero-worship level. Rather than “celebrating” Malcolm X’s birthday, call it The Journey of Malcolm X-An American Tale.

  12. davisite

    The Malcolm X narrative is a story that should be told to every youngster as they grow up. Malcolm X’s birthday is as good a reason and time as any..I would guess that he would have been outraged to be celebrated and raised to hero-worship level. Rather than “celebrating” Malcolm X’s birthday, call it The Journey of Malcolm X-An American Tale.

  13. Richard

    Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke? Guess that’s the political philosophy that they want to have associated with the newspaper.

    And people wonder why African Americans in this region have such a dim view of Davis.

    Malcolm X advocated the notion that African Americans should defend themselves against the predations of white people when whites were killing them and brutalizing them in the Deep South.

    Malcolm X also internationalized his message in the last years of his life, and, as did Martin Luther King, a few years later, recognized the role of US imperialism in exploiting people of color around the world through intimidation and violence.

    Along these lines, more recently, George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.

    –Richard Estes

  14. Richard

    Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke? Guess that’s the political philosophy that they want to have associated with the newspaper.

    And people wonder why African Americans in this region have such a dim view of Davis.

    Malcolm X advocated the notion that African Americans should defend themselves against the predations of white people when whites were killing them and brutalizing them in the Deep South.

    Malcolm X also internationalized his message in the last years of his life, and, as did Martin Luther King, a few years later, recognized the role of US imperialism in exploiting people of color around the world through intimidation and violence.

    Along these lines, more recently, George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.

    –Richard Estes

  15. Richard

    Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke? Guess that’s the political philosophy that they want to have associated with the newspaper.

    And people wonder why African Americans in this region have such a dim view of Davis.

    Malcolm X advocated the notion that African Americans should defend themselves against the predations of white people when whites were killing them and brutalizing them in the Deep South.

    Malcolm X also internationalized his message in the last years of his life, and, as did Martin Luther King, a few years later, recognized the role of US imperialism in exploiting people of color around the world through intimidation and violence.

    Along these lines, more recently, George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.

    –Richard Estes

  16. Richard

    Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke? Guess that’s the political philosophy that they want to have associated with the newspaper.

    And people wonder why African Americans in this region have such a dim view of Davis.

    Malcolm X advocated the notion that African Americans should defend themselves against the predations of white people when whites were killing them and brutalizing them in the Deep South.

    Malcolm X also internationalized his message in the last years of his life, and, as did Martin Luther King, a few years later, recognized the role of US imperialism in exploiting people of color around the world through intimidation and violence.

    Along these lines, more recently, George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.

    –Richard Estes

  17. Rich Rifkin

    “David Duke, figures you would make an analogy like that. Go ahead I’m sure you will enjoy it.”

    I did not mean to equate David Duke and Malcolm X, even pre-renunciation. There are many differences between them on an individual level, and of course, Malcolm X was a far, far more important historical person with a far larger following.

    However, I do believe that the core message and sinister nature of the NOI cult is very similar to the core message and sinister nature of what Duke stands for.

    Malcolm X, even prior to his very late in life renunciation of the NOI, was not entirely a bad person or a person whose positions were impossible to understand, given his life experiences and the general condition and treatment of black Americans at that time.

    Further, I believe that because of his force as a powerful and articulate speaker, Malcolm X was an important leader, who deserves to be studied and understood.

    But studied and understood are far from being celebrated. I will never approve of the celebration of a person who spent most of his public life advocating racism and anti-Semitism. If others want to celebrate that, they are free to do so.

  18. Rich Rifkin

    “David Duke, figures you would make an analogy like that. Go ahead I’m sure you will enjoy it.”

    I did not mean to equate David Duke and Malcolm X, even pre-renunciation. There are many differences between them on an individual level, and of course, Malcolm X was a far, far more important historical person with a far larger following.

    However, I do believe that the core message and sinister nature of the NOI cult is very similar to the core message and sinister nature of what Duke stands for.

    Malcolm X, even prior to his very late in life renunciation of the NOI, was not entirely a bad person or a person whose positions were impossible to understand, given his life experiences and the general condition and treatment of black Americans at that time.

    Further, I believe that because of his force as a powerful and articulate speaker, Malcolm X was an important leader, who deserves to be studied and understood.

    But studied and understood are far from being celebrated. I will never approve of the celebration of a person who spent most of his public life advocating racism and anti-Semitism. If others want to celebrate that, they are free to do so.

  19. Rich Rifkin

    “David Duke, figures you would make an analogy like that. Go ahead I’m sure you will enjoy it.”

    I did not mean to equate David Duke and Malcolm X, even pre-renunciation. There are many differences between them on an individual level, and of course, Malcolm X was a far, far more important historical person with a far larger following.

    However, I do believe that the core message and sinister nature of the NOI cult is very similar to the core message and sinister nature of what Duke stands for.

    Malcolm X, even prior to his very late in life renunciation of the NOI, was not entirely a bad person or a person whose positions were impossible to understand, given his life experiences and the general condition and treatment of black Americans at that time.

    Further, I believe that because of his force as a powerful and articulate speaker, Malcolm X was an important leader, who deserves to be studied and understood.

    But studied and understood are far from being celebrated. I will never approve of the celebration of a person who spent most of his public life advocating racism and anti-Semitism. If others want to celebrate that, they are free to do so.

  20. Rich Rifkin

    “David Duke, figures you would make an analogy like that. Go ahead I’m sure you will enjoy it.”

    I did not mean to equate David Duke and Malcolm X, even pre-renunciation. There are many differences between them on an individual level, and of course, Malcolm X was a far, far more important historical person with a far larger following.

    However, I do believe that the core message and sinister nature of the NOI cult is very similar to the core message and sinister nature of what Duke stands for.

    Malcolm X, even prior to his very late in life renunciation of the NOI, was not entirely a bad person or a person whose positions were impossible to understand, given his life experiences and the general condition and treatment of black Americans at that time.

    Further, I believe that because of his force as a powerful and articulate speaker, Malcolm X was an important leader, who deserves to be studied and understood.

    But studied and understood are far from being celebrated. I will never approve of the celebration of a person who spent most of his public life advocating racism and anti-Semitism. If others want to celebrate that, they are free to do so.

  21. Don Shor

    “George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.”
    Rich Rifkin’s April 18 column (US exit from Iraq won’t end the war) was excellent.

    The Malcolm X story is complicated. I would have been delighted to have my kids taught his story the way Nikki Smith summarized it here. The changes George Wallace made late in life, and the advent of Jimmy Carter as a new breed of white Southern politician, are an important part of that story. I like to see history taught warts and all (my kids really liked James Loewen’s books such as Lies My Teacher Told Me).

    David Duke is just an increasingly irrelevant gadfly.

  22. Don Shor

    “George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.”
    Rich Rifkin’s April 18 column (US exit from Iraq won’t end the war) was excellent.

    The Malcolm X story is complicated. I would have been delighted to have my kids taught his story the way Nikki Smith summarized it here. The changes George Wallace made late in life, and the advent of Jimmy Carter as a new breed of white Southern politician, are an important part of that story. I like to see history taught warts and all (my kids really liked James Loewen’s books such as Lies My Teacher Told Me).

    David Duke is just an increasingly irrelevant gadfly.

  23. Don Shor

    “George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.”
    Rich Rifkin’s April 18 column (US exit from Iraq won’t end the war) was excellent.

    The Malcolm X story is complicated. I would have been delighted to have my kids taught his story the way Nikki Smith summarized it here. The changes George Wallace made late in life, and the advent of Jimmy Carter as a new breed of white Southern politician, are an important part of that story. I like to see history taught warts and all (my kids really liked James Loewen’s books such as Lies My Teacher Told Me).

    David Duke is just an increasingly irrelevant gadfly.

  24. Don Shor

    “George Bush launched a war and killed tens of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands, of Iraqis in an imperial conflict. Maybe, Rich can get around to saying something about that.”
    Rich Rifkin’s April 18 column (US exit from Iraq won’t end the war) was excellent.

    The Malcolm X story is complicated. I would have been delighted to have my kids taught his story the way Nikki Smith summarized it here. The changes George Wallace made late in life, and the advent of Jimmy Carter as a new breed of white Southern politician, are an important part of that story. I like to see history taught warts and all (my kids really liked James Loewen’s books such as Lies My Teacher Told Me).

    David Duke is just an increasingly irrelevant gadfly.

  25. Rich Rifkin

    “He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.”

    This is true, but it’s a whitewashing. He came out of prison and joined a racist cult. One of the principal tenants of the NOI has been to preach that Jews are bloodsuckers and other terms of approbation and some leaders of the NOI refer to whites as “devils.” Also, a number of white racist groups over the years, most notably the American Nazi Party, have endorsed the anti-Semtism of the NOI.

    “While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.”

    I think this is an important point. Malcolm was not yet 40 when he was murdered. Had he lived another 40 years and been able to contribute in a positive way for the rest of his adult life, then I might agree that his later message and renunciation of the values of Elijah Muhammed should be honored and celebrated. However, that is counter-factual history. He did, in fact, die shortly after he renounced the NOI and its teachings. So we, today, have to consider him from the perspective of what he actually did and said and stood for in the years that he was a public figure. And for 95% of that, he stood for many bad things.

  26. Rich Rifkin

    “He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.”

    This is true, but it’s a whitewashing. He came out of prison and joined a racist cult. One of the principal tenants of the NOI has been to preach that Jews are bloodsuckers and other terms of approbation and some leaders of the NOI refer to whites as “devils.” Also, a number of white racist groups over the years, most notably the American Nazi Party, have endorsed the anti-Semtism of the NOI.

    “While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.”

    I think this is an important point. Malcolm was not yet 40 when he was murdered. Had he lived another 40 years and been able to contribute in a positive way for the rest of his adult life, then I might agree that his later message and renunciation of the values of Elijah Muhammed should be honored and celebrated. However, that is counter-factual history. He did, in fact, die shortly after he renounced the NOI and its teachings. So we, today, have to consider him from the perspective of what he actually did and said and stood for in the years that he was a public figure. And for 95% of that, he stood for many bad things.

  27. Rich Rifkin

    “He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.”

    This is true, but it’s a whitewashing. He came out of prison and joined a racist cult. One of the principal tenants of the NOI has been to preach that Jews are bloodsuckers and other terms of approbation and some leaders of the NOI refer to whites as “devils.” Also, a number of white racist groups over the years, most notably the American Nazi Party, have endorsed the anti-Semtism of the NOI.

    “While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.”

    I think this is an important point. Malcolm was not yet 40 when he was murdered. Had he lived another 40 years and been able to contribute in a positive way for the rest of his adult life, then I might agree that his later message and renunciation of the values of Elijah Muhammed should be honored and celebrated. However, that is counter-factual history. He did, in fact, die shortly after he renounced the NOI and its teachings. So we, today, have to consider him from the perspective of what he actually did and said and stood for in the years that he was a public figure. And for 95% of that, he stood for many bad things.

  28. Rich Rifkin

    “He became well read, and joined the only group that had shown him any love and guidance: the Nation of Islam. He stopped using drugs, and “cleaned up” his lifestyle.”

    This is true, but it’s a whitewashing. He came out of prison and joined a racist cult. One of the principal tenants of the NOI has been to preach that Jews are bloodsuckers and other terms of approbation and some leaders of the NOI refer to whites as “devils.” Also, a number of white racist groups over the years, most notably the American Nazi Party, have endorsed the anti-Semtism of the NOI.

    “While it is true that his biggest philisophical changes came late in his life, lets not forget that his life was short. Most people I know say that their wisdom came late in life. He didn’t have the opportunity to grow old.”

    I think this is an important point. Malcolm was not yet 40 when he was murdered. Had he lived another 40 years and been able to contribute in a positive way for the rest of his adult life, then I might agree that his later message and renunciation of the values of Elijah Muhammed should be honored and celebrated. However, that is counter-factual history. He did, in fact, die shortly after he renounced the NOI and its teachings. So we, today, have to consider him from the perspective of what he actually did and said and stood for in the years that he was a public figure. And for 95% of that, he stood for many bad things.

  29. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke?”

    Just to clarify again: I don’t mean to directly compare or equate Duke and Malcolm X. But I do mean to equate Duke’s racist philosophy with that of the NOI.

    Further, I don’t blame anyone for their mental illness. I don’t blame Seung-Hui Cho for his actions, which I do believe were crazy. I now understand that the politically correct crowd thinks applying the term crazy to the mentally ill is mean-spirited. But I don’t. I don’t consider the term crazy to be a put down of the person suffering from mental illness. I consider it to be descriptive of the effect of some illnesses. I’m certainly not saying, however, that crazy (as I used it in my piece) is a positive or even a neutral thing. It sucks to be crazy. No one wants to be crazy. But, alas, some people are.

  30. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke?”

    Just to clarify again: I don’t mean to directly compare or equate Duke and Malcolm X. But I do mean to equate Duke’s racist philosophy with that of the NOI.

    Further, I don’t blame anyone for their mental illness. I don’t blame Seung-Hui Cho for his actions, which I do believe were crazy. I now understand that the politically correct crowd thinks applying the term crazy to the mentally ill is mean-spirited. But I don’t. I don’t consider the term crazy to be a put down of the person suffering from mental illness. I consider it to be descriptive of the effect of some illnesses. I’m certainly not saying, however, that crazy (as I used it in my piece) is a positive or even a neutral thing. It sucks to be crazy. No one wants to be crazy. But, alas, some people are.

  31. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke?”

    Just to clarify again: I don’t mean to directly compare or equate Duke and Malcolm X. But I do mean to equate Duke’s racist philosophy with that of the NOI.

    Further, I don’t blame anyone for their mental illness. I don’t blame Seung-Hui Cho for his actions, which I do believe were crazy. I now understand that the politically correct crowd thinks applying the term crazy to the mentally ill is mean-spirited. But I don’t. I don’t consider the term crazy to be a put down of the person suffering from mental illness. I consider it to be descriptive of the effect of some illnesses. I’m certainly not saying, however, that crazy (as I used it in my piece) is a positive or even a neutral thing. It sucks to be crazy. No one wants to be crazy. But, alas, some people are.

  32. Rich Rifkin

    “Why is it that the Davis Enterprise publishes a columnist that calls mentally disordered people “crazy people” and compares Malcolm X to David Duke?”

    Just to clarify again: I don’t mean to directly compare or equate Duke and Malcolm X. But I do mean to equate Duke’s racist philosophy with that of the NOI.

    Further, I don’t blame anyone for their mental illness. I don’t blame Seung-Hui Cho for his actions, which I do believe were crazy. I now understand that the politically correct crowd thinks applying the term crazy to the mentally ill is mean-spirited. But I don’t. I don’t consider the term crazy to be a put down of the person suffering from mental illness. I consider it to be descriptive of the effect of some illnesses. I’m certainly not saying, however, that crazy (as I used it in my piece) is a positive or even a neutral thing. It sucks to be crazy. No one wants to be crazy. But, alas, some people are.

  33. Anonymous

    But you did equate X and Duke. Are you retracting that statement or just clarifying it? Maybe it was just another one of those revealing statements about your predjudices.

  34. Anonymous

    But you did equate X and Duke. Are you retracting that statement or just clarifying it? Maybe it was just another one of those revealing statements about your predjudices.

  35. Anonymous

    But you did equate X and Duke. Are you retracting that statement or just clarifying it? Maybe it was just another one of those revealing statements about your predjudices.

  36. Anonymous

    But you did equate X and Duke. Are you retracting that statement or just clarifying it? Maybe it was just another one of those revealing statements about your predjudices.

  37. Rich Rifkin

    “But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them. If you cannot understand the distinction, that is your problem.

  38. Rich Rifkin

    “But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them. If you cannot understand the distinction, that is your problem.

  39. Rich Rifkin

    “But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them. If you cannot understand the distinction, that is your problem.

  40. Rich Rifkin

    “But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them. If you cannot understand the distinction, that is your problem.

  41. Anonymous

    Equating the idea of celbrating them implies a common linkage that necessitates some mode of comparison. Otherwise why mention David Duke unless the name itself connotes some meaning. Unless you claiming random comparison which seems highly unlikely. Therefore it is obvious that on some level you are making a comparison and now trying to backoff partially upon people calling you on it.

  42. Anonymous

    Equating the idea of celbrating them implies a common linkage that necessitates some mode of comparison. Otherwise why mention David Duke unless the name itself connotes some meaning. Unless you claiming random comparison which seems highly unlikely. Therefore it is obvious that on some level you are making a comparison and now trying to backoff partially upon people calling you on it.

  43. Anonymous

    Equating the idea of celbrating them implies a common linkage that necessitates some mode of comparison. Otherwise why mention David Duke unless the name itself connotes some meaning. Unless you claiming random comparison which seems highly unlikely. Therefore it is obvious that on some level you are making a comparison and now trying to backoff partially upon people calling you on it.

  44. Anonymous

    Equating the idea of celbrating them implies a common linkage that necessitates some mode of comparison. Otherwise why mention David Duke unless the name itself connotes some meaning. Unless you claiming random comparison which seems highly unlikely. Therefore it is obvious that on some level you are making a comparison and now trying to backoff partially upon people calling you on it.

  45. Richard

    Rifkin on Malcolm X and David Duke:

    “I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them.”

    It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    The more he parses his language, the more he buries himself.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes

  46. Richard

    Rifkin on Malcolm X and David Duke:

    “I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them.”

    It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    The more he parses his language, the more he buries himself.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes

  47. Richard

    Rifkin on Malcolm X and David Duke:

    “I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them.”

    It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    The more he parses his language, the more he buries himself.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes

  48. Richard

    Rifkin on Malcolm X and David Duke:

    “I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them.”

    It speaks for itself, doesn’t it?

    The more he parses his language, the more he buries himself.

    I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes

  49. Rich Rifkin

    My apologies for changing the discussion topic. (Remove this post if it violates your rules, David.) But I just found something quite interesting on Google News that relates tangentially to a recent discussion on this site about the bias or lack of bias in headlines.

    Today in the news there is a story regarding Muslim opinion in America. Some put a positive spin in the headline; most put a negative spin on the same story’s headline. On Google News, you can see pretty much every headline on this story. Here are some of the hundreds of them:

    Neutral: US Muslims’ opinions studied

    Positive: Poll: Most Muslim-Americans reject suicide bombings; Muslims happier in the US; Poll: US Muslims well assimiliated; US Muslims More Assimilated Than British; Study: US Muslims satisfied with life; Muslim Americans in line with US values; Poll: American Muslims reject suicide bombings;

    Negative: Attacks In Islam’s Name Not OK, Poll Finds; Poll finds some US Muslim support for suicide attacks; Some US Muslims Say Suicide Attacks Ok; 25% of Muslim teens: Suicide attacks ok; Younger US Muslims more likely to support suicide bombings, poll shows; Poll: 1 In 4 Younger US Muslims Support Suicide Bombings; Some Young US Muslims OK with Suicide Attacks; Poll Finds US Muslim Support for Suicide Attacks; Suicide blasts OK to some US Muslims.

    My spin: I noticed that most of the non-U.S. newspapers stressed what I call the negative spin. The U.S. papers were more of an even mix.

  50. Rich Rifkin

    My apologies for changing the discussion topic. (Remove this post if it violates your rules, David.) But I just found something quite interesting on Google News that relates tangentially to a recent discussion on this site about the bias or lack of bias in headlines.

    Today in the news there is a story regarding Muslim opinion in America. Some put a positive spin in the headline; most put a negative spin on the same story’s headline. On Google News, you can see pretty much every headline on this story. Here are some of the hundreds of them:

    Neutral: US Muslims’ opinions studied

    Positive: Poll: Most Muslim-Americans reject suicide bombings; Muslims happier in the US; Poll: US Muslims well assimiliated; US Muslims More Assimilated Than British; Study: US Muslims satisfied with life; Muslim Americans in line with US values; Poll: American Muslims reject suicide bombings;

    Negative: Attacks In Islam’s Name Not OK, Poll Finds; Poll finds some US Muslim support for suicide attacks; Some US Muslims Say Suicide Attacks Ok; 25% of Muslim teens: Suicide attacks ok; Younger US Muslims more likely to support suicide bombings, poll shows; Poll: 1 In 4 Younger US Muslims Support Suicide Bombings; Some Young US Muslims OK with Suicide Attacks; Poll Finds US Muslim Support for Suicide Attacks; Suicide blasts OK to some US Muslims.

    My spin: I noticed that most of the non-U.S. newspapers stressed what I call the negative spin. The U.S. papers were more of an even mix.

  51. Rich Rifkin

    My apologies for changing the discussion topic. (Remove this post if it violates your rules, David.) But I just found something quite interesting on Google News that relates tangentially to a recent discussion on this site about the bias or lack of bias in headlines.

    Today in the news there is a story regarding Muslim opinion in America. Some put a positive spin in the headline; most put a negative spin on the same story’s headline. On Google News, you can see pretty much every headline on this story. Here are some of the hundreds of them:

    Neutral: US Muslims’ opinions studied

    Positive: Poll: Most Muslim-Americans reject suicide bombings; Muslims happier in the US; Poll: US Muslims well assimiliated; US Muslims More Assimilated Than British; Study: US Muslims satisfied with life; Muslim Americans in line with US values; Poll: American Muslims reject suicide bombings;

    Negative: Attacks In Islam’s Name Not OK, Poll Finds; Poll finds some US Muslim support for suicide attacks; Some US Muslims Say Suicide Attacks Ok; 25% of Muslim teens: Suicide attacks ok; Younger US Muslims more likely to support suicide bombings, poll shows; Poll: 1 In 4 Younger US Muslims Support Suicide Bombings; Some Young US Muslims OK with Suicide Attacks; Poll Finds US Muslim Support for Suicide Attacks; Suicide blasts OK to some US Muslims.

    My spin: I noticed that most of the non-U.S. newspapers stressed what I call the negative spin. The U.S. papers were more of an even mix.

  52. Rich Rifkin

    My apologies for changing the discussion topic. (Remove this post if it violates your rules, David.) But I just found something quite interesting on Google News that relates tangentially to a recent discussion on this site about the bias or lack of bias in headlines.

    Today in the news there is a story regarding Muslim opinion in America. Some put a positive spin in the headline; most put a negative spin on the same story’s headline. On Google News, you can see pretty much every headline on this story. Here are some of the hundreds of them:

    Neutral: US Muslims’ opinions studied

    Positive: Poll: Most Muslim-Americans reject suicide bombings; Muslims happier in the US; Poll: US Muslims well assimiliated; US Muslims More Assimilated Than British; Study: US Muslims satisfied with life; Muslim Americans in line with US values; Poll: American Muslims reject suicide bombings;

    Negative: Attacks In Islam’s Name Not OK, Poll Finds; Poll finds some US Muslim support for suicide attacks; Some US Muslims Say Suicide Attacks Ok; 25% of Muslim teens: Suicide attacks ok; Younger US Muslims more likely to support suicide bombings, poll shows; Poll: 1 In 4 Younger US Muslims Support Suicide Bombings; Some Young US Muslims OK with Suicide Attacks; Poll Finds US Muslim Support for Suicide Attacks; Suicide blasts OK to some US Muslims.

    My spin: I noticed that most of the non-U.S. newspapers stressed what I call the negative spin. The U.S. papers were more of an even mix.

  53. Don Shor

    “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes”

    The black population of Coronado in 2002 was about 5.2%. The black population of Davis in 2001 was about 2.8%.
    I really don’t know what point you’re trying to make here, Richard. Of course, what would I now? I’ve been in their “stable of columnists” since 2000.

  54. Don Shor

    “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes”

    The black population of Coronado in 2002 was about 5.2%. The black population of Davis in 2001 was about 2.8%.
    I really don’t know what point you’re trying to make here, Richard. Of course, what would I now? I’ve been in their “stable of columnists” since 2000.

  55. Don Shor

    “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes”

    The black population of Coronado in 2002 was about 5.2%. The black population of Davis in 2001 was about 2.8%.
    I really don’t know what point you’re trying to make here, Richard. Of course, what would I now? I’ve been in their “stable of columnists” since 2000.

  56. Don Shor

    “I guess I shouldn’t be surprised that he’s part of the Enterprise stable of columnists, after all, Debbie Davis worked at a newspaper in Coronado before coming to Davis, and, having visited there many times, the only African Americans that I can recall seeing there were uniformed ones serving at the military base.

    –Richard Estes”

    The black population of Coronado in 2002 was about 5.2%. The black population of Davis in 2001 was about 2.8%.
    I really don’t know what point you’re trying to make here, Richard. Of course, what would I now? I’ve been in their “stable of columnists” since 2000.

  57. Don Shor

    Rich Rifkin:
    “”But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them…”

    I think a more comparable comparison would be Malcolm X and Menachem Begin. Both demonstrated that one can change basic views and act upon those changes for the betterment of their people and others. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was killed before he could make a significant impact.

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

    With the formation of Israel, he entered politics and slowly rose to power. As Prime Minister, his 1977 speech inviting King Hussein, Anwar Sadat, and President Assad to make peace paved the way for Sadat’s electrifying visit to Israel and ultimately the Camp David accord.

  58. Don Shor

    Rich Rifkin:
    “”But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them…”

    I think a more comparable comparison would be Malcolm X and Menachem Begin. Both demonstrated that one can change basic views and act upon those changes for the betterment of their people and others. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was killed before he could make a significant impact.

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

    With the formation of Israel, he entered politics and slowly rose to power. As Prime Minister, his 1977 speech inviting King Hussein, Anwar Sadat, and President Assad to make peace paved the way for Sadat’s electrifying visit to Israel and ultimately the Camp David accord.

  59. Don Shor

    Rich Rifkin:
    “”But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them…”

    I think a more comparable comparison would be Malcolm X and Menachem Begin. Both demonstrated that one can change basic views and act upon those changes for the betterment of their people and others. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was killed before he could make a significant impact.

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

    With the formation of Israel, he entered politics and slowly rose to power. As Prime Minister, his 1977 speech inviting King Hussein, Anwar Sadat, and President Assad to make peace paved the way for Sadat’s electrifying visit to Israel and ultimately the Camp David accord.

  60. Don Shor

    Rich Rifkin:
    “”But you did equate X and Duke.”

    No. I didn’t. I equated the idea of honoring or celebrating them…”

    I think a more comparable comparison would be Malcolm X and Menachem Begin. Both demonstrated that one can change basic views and act upon those changes for the betterment of their people and others. Unfortunately, Malcolm X was killed before he could make a significant impact.

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

    With the formation of Israel, he entered politics and slowly rose to power. As Prime Minister, his 1977 speech inviting King Hussein, Anwar Sadat, and President Assad to make peace paved the way for Sadat’s electrifying visit to Israel and ultimately the Camp David accord.

  61. Don Shor

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he [Begin] ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

  62. Don Shor

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he [Begin] ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

  63. Don Shor

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he [Begin] ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

  64. Don Shor

    Imprisoned in the Soviet gulag, head of the Irgun terrorist organization, he [Begin] ordered the bombing of the King David Hotel, which killed 91 innocent people.

  65. Anonymous

    Malcom X’s views were fired in the furnances of racial oppression and economic exploitation. The reference to Begin and Israeli history reveals a similar “blindness” to causality.

  66. Anonymous

    Malcom X’s views were fired in the furnances of racial oppression and economic exploitation. The reference to Begin and Israeli history reveals a similar “blindness” to causality.

  67. Anonymous

    Malcom X’s views were fired in the furnances of racial oppression and economic exploitation. The reference to Begin and Israeli history reveals a similar “blindness” to causality.

  68. Anonymous

    Malcom X’s views were fired in the furnances of racial oppression and economic exploitation. The reference to Begin and Israeli history reveals a similar “blindness” to causality.

  69. Vincente

    Anon: I have to disagree on that, Begin’s views were also fired in furnaces… literally. He fought against the Nazis, then against the Palestinians and the Arab nations for his very survival. I think that is a very good analogy.

  70. Vincente

    Anon: I have to disagree on that, Begin’s views were also fired in furnaces… literally. He fought against the Nazis, then against the Palestinians and the Arab nations for his very survival. I think that is a very good analogy.

  71. Vincente

    Anon: I have to disagree on that, Begin’s views were also fired in furnaces… literally. He fought against the Nazis, then against the Palestinians and the Arab nations for his very survival. I think that is a very good analogy.

  72. Vincente

    Anon: I have to disagree on that, Begin’s views were also fired in furnaces… literally. He fought against the Nazis, then against the Palestinians and the Arab nations for his very survival. I think that is a very good analogy.

  73. Anonymous

    The narrative of Malcolm X was one of individual spiritual transformation through Islam.
    The analogy to Begin’s outreach to Egypt which was a political decision of the Israeli Government is misplaced.

  74. Anonymous

    The narrative of Malcolm X was one of individual spiritual transformation through Islam.
    The analogy to Begin’s outreach to Egypt which was a political decision of the Israeli Government is misplaced.

  75. Anonymous

    The narrative of Malcolm X was one of individual spiritual transformation through Islam.
    The analogy to Begin’s outreach to Egypt which was a political decision of the Israeli Government is misplaced.

  76. Anonymous

    The narrative of Malcolm X was one of individual spiritual transformation through Islam.
    The analogy to Begin’s outreach to Egypt which was a political decision of the Israeli Government is misplaced.

  77. Rich Rifkin

    I would not want Menachem Begin celebrated, either.

    Whether the analogy is perfect or not, I think the very end of X’s life is a story of redemption, after a long public life of being associated with a hate group.

    I don’t really see the redemption in Begin’s life. He was, as a young man, an idiot terrorist (much like the youths who are terrorizing Israel today). He didn’t understand that his actions were not in the interest of his people. I don’t know if he ever apologized for that behavior, but his actions in his youth were inexcusable.

    His peace-making as an older man was not him turning a new leaf. Begin was acting in his country’s self-interest, as their prime minister. Any Israeli leader would have made peace with Egypt at that time.

    His counterpart, Sadat (who also had a history of being an idiot and a bad actor) was more unique. I don’t think you can say “any Egyptian leader would have made peace with Israel.” The price of Arab unity was a high one, and thus Sadat was taking a far bigger chance with a smaller reward. When he was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood (which is related to the group in charge of Palestine, now, Hamas), Sadat’s risk was proven to be very high indeed.

  78. Rich Rifkin

    I would not want Menachem Begin celebrated, either.

    Whether the analogy is perfect or not, I think the very end of X’s life is a story of redemption, after a long public life of being associated with a hate group.

    I don’t really see the redemption in Begin’s life. He was, as a young man, an idiot terrorist (much like the youths who are terrorizing Israel today). He didn’t understand that his actions were not in the interest of his people. I don’t know if he ever apologized for that behavior, but his actions in his youth were inexcusable.

    His peace-making as an older man was not him turning a new leaf. Begin was acting in his country’s self-interest, as their prime minister. Any Israeli leader would have made peace with Egypt at that time.

    His counterpart, Sadat (who also had a history of being an idiot and a bad actor) was more unique. I don’t think you can say “any Egyptian leader would have made peace with Israel.” The price of Arab unity was a high one, and thus Sadat was taking a far bigger chance with a smaller reward. When he was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood (which is related to the group in charge of Palestine, now, Hamas), Sadat’s risk was proven to be very high indeed.

  79. Rich Rifkin

    I would not want Menachem Begin celebrated, either.

    Whether the analogy is perfect or not, I think the very end of X’s life is a story of redemption, after a long public life of being associated with a hate group.

    I don’t really see the redemption in Begin’s life. He was, as a young man, an idiot terrorist (much like the youths who are terrorizing Israel today). He didn’t understand that his actions were not in the interest of his people. I don’t know if he ever apologized for that behavior, but his actions in his youth were inexcusable.

    His peace-making as an older man was not him turning a new leaf. Begin was acting in his country’s self-interest, as their prime minister. Any Israeli leader would have made peace with Egypt at that time.

    His counterpart, Sadat (who also had a history of being an idiot and a bad actor) was more unique. I don’t think you can say “any Egyptian leader would have made peace with Israel.” The price of Arab unity was a high one, and thus Sadat was taking a far bigger chance with a smaller reward. When he was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood (which is related to the group in charge of Palestine, now, Hamas), Sadat’s risk was proven to be very high indeed.

  80. Rich Rifkin

    I would not want Menachem Begin celebrated, either.

    Whether the analogy is perfect or not, I think the very end of X’s life is a story of redemption, after a long public life of being associated with a hate group.

    I don’t really see the redemption in Begin’s life. He was, as a young man, an idiot terrorist (much like the youths who are terrorizing Israel today). He didn’t understand that his actions were not in the interest of his people. I don’t know if he ever apologized for that behavior, but his actions in his youth were inexcusable.

    His peace-making as an older man was not him turning a new leaf. Begin was acting in his country’s self-interest, as their prime minister. Any Israeli leader would have made peace with Egypt at that time.

    His counterpart, Sadat (who also had a history of being an idiot and a bad actor) was more unique. I don’t think you can say “any Egyptian leader would have made peace with Israel.” The price of Arab unity was a high one, and thus Sadat was taking a far bigger chance with a smaller reward. When he was murdered by the Muslim Brotherhood (which is related to the group in charge of Palestine, now, Hamas), Sadat’s risk was proven to be very high indeed.

  81. Rich Rifkin

    So if you forget about the religious aspects of X’s life — which is hard to do, as that was the thing which brought about his transformation and redemption at the end of his life — and limit it to:

    1) Grew up in difficult and oppressive circumstances;

    2) Joined and later led a radical group;

    3) Broke away from the tenets of that group that he led in order to fully accept others who his group deemed as enemies; and

    4) Was killed shortly after breaking away from his radical past.

    Then you could say that this pattern fits both Malcolm X and Anwar Sadat. On the first two parts, it fits Menachem Begin, also. But I don’t think it fits Begin on #3; and it obviously doesn’t fit on #4.

  82. Rich Rifkin

    So if you forget about the religious aspects of X’s life — which is hard to do, as that was the thing which brought about his transformation and redemption at the end of his life — and limit it to:

    1) Grew up in difficult and oppressive circumstances;

    2) Joined and later led a radical group;

    3) Broke away from the tenets of that group that he led in order to fully accept others who his group deemed as enemies; and

    4) Was killed shortly after breaking away from his radical past.

    Then you could say that this pattern fits both Malcolm X and Anwar Sadat. On the first two parts, it fits Menachem Begin, also. But I don’t think it fits Begin on #3; and it obviously doesn’t fit on #4.

  83. Rich Rifkin

    So if you forget about the religious aspects of X’s life — which is hard to do, as that was the thing which brought about his transformation and redemption at the end of his life — and limit it to:

    1) Grew up in difficult and oppressive circumstances;

    2) Joined and later led a radical group;

    3) Broke away from the tenets of that group that he led in order to fully accept others who his group deemed as enemies; and

    4) Was killed shortly after breaking away from his radical past.

    Then you could say that this pattern fits both Malcolm X and Anwar Sadat. On the first two parts, it fits Menachem Begin, also. But I don’t think it fits Begin on #3; and it obviously doesn’t fit on #4.

  84. Rich Rifkin

    So if you forget about the religious aspects of X’s life — which is hard to do, as that was the thing which brought about his transformation and redemption at the end of his life — and limit it to:

    1) Grew up in difficult and oppressive circumstances;

    2) Joined and later led a radical group;

    3) Broke away from the tenets of that group that he led in order to fully accept others who his group deemed as enemies; and

    4) Was killed shortly after breaking away from his radical past.

    Then you could say that this pattern fits both Malcolm X and Anwar Sadat. On the first two parts, it fits Menachem Begin, also. But I don’t think it fits Begin on #3; and it obviously doesn’t fit on #4.

  85. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, the radicalism of Sadat in his early life was not directed against the Jews of Palestine or Israel, as it later was. His radicalism, along with his friend Nasser, shifted from fighting against British imperialism (and in doing so, working for the Nazis), to fighting against King Farouk of Egypt (who was associated with the Brits) to only later fighting against Israel (especially in ’56, ’67 and ’73). As president of Egypt in ’73 and as vice president in ’67, Sadat deserves rebuke for his horrible leadership and decisions in those ill-conceived attacks.

  86. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, the radicalism of Sadat in his early life was not directed against the Jews of Palestine or Israel, as it later was. His radicalism, along with his friend Nasser, shifted from fighting against British imperialism (and in doing so, working for the Nazis), to fighting against King Farouk of Egypt (who was associated with the Brits) to only later fighting against Israel (especially in ’56, ’67 and ’73). As president of Egypt in ’73 and as vice president in ’67, Sadat deserves rebuke for his horrible leadership and decisions in those ill-conceived attacks.

  87. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, the radicalism of Sadat in his early life was not directed against the Jews of Palestine or Israel, as it later was. His radicalism, along with his friend Nasser, shifted from fighting against British imperialism (and in doing so, working for the Nazis), to fighting against King Farouk of Egypt (who was associated with the Brits) to only later fighting against Israel (especially in ’56, ’67 and ’73). As president of Egypt in ’73 and as vice president in ’67, Sadat deserves rebuke for his horrible leadership and decisions in those ill-conceived attacks.

  88. Rich Rifkin

    By the way, the radicalism of Sadat in his early life was not directed against the Jews of Palestine or Israel, as it later was. His radicalism, along with his friend Nasser, shifted from fighting against British imperialism (and in doing so, working for the Nazis), to fighting against King Farouk of Egypt (who was associated with the Brits) to only later fighting against Israel (especially in ’56, ’67 and ’73). As president of Egypt in ’73 and as vice president in ’67, Sadat deserves rebuke for his horrible leadership and decisions in those ill-conceived attacks.

  89. darnell

    I am really torn when it comes to Malcolm X. In many ways I admire him and at the same time I loathe him. Most people will agree that his early years were not ones that would be considered exemplary. When you give praise to a person you don’t want to rationalize how and why they broke the law in a manner that is repulsive to you. You rationalize in your mind the things that could justify the actions they took to overcome injustices that only the victims of those injustices understand.

    I was so enamored by Dr. Martin Luther King that I winced when the “Six O’clock News” would show any news about Malcolm X. He scared the hell out of white people and he scared the hell out of me! I wanted to see the things that MLK preached come to fruition. Martin had the same vision that Malcolm X had to some degree. How they would get there was a different story. Malcolm X, by any means necessary in a sprint, and MLK more willing to run a marathon if that is what was required to make a dream come true.

    Being a Christian made me lean toward MLK and the Nation of Islam was something I didn’t understand then and I don’t really understand today. Hating groups of people for whatever reason is something I just don’t understand. In Malcolm’s later life he rejected his early allegiances and probably gave his life because of it. The Nation of Islam did do good things in the communities where they had a good infrastructure established. They gave black men and women a sense of pride, self confidence, self reliance, and a mindset that taught their followers that they could exist and prosper despite the condemnation of the “blue eyed devils”. I would see the “sister and brothers” dressed differently than I knew other black people to dress. Head dress for the woman, jackets and bowties for the men. There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.

    In the 60’s when assignations were common we lost John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and other folks that people hardly blink when their names are mentioned, such as Medgar Evers. Killing folks almost seemed the answer to what ailed you. I had just returned from a war in Southeast Asia when my hero was struck down in Memphis Tennessee. Whatever sympathies I had for Malcolm X were gone at that point.

    I have no problems if people today want to honor Malcolm X. I will not be out in the streets marching in his honor or taking a day off from work. You won’t see me, but if that day comes my right hand will be raised and clenched in my own little way and saying “Right on Brother!”

    I’m still looking for the next MLK, we need him desperately.

  90. darnell

    I am really torn when it comes to Malcolm X. In many ways I admire him and at the same time I loathe him. Most people will agree that his early years were not ones that would be considered exemplary. When you give praise to a person you don’t want to rationalize how and why they broke the law in a manner that is repulsive to you. You rationalize in your mind the things that could justify the actions they took to overcome injustices that only the victims of those injustices understand.

    I was so enamored by Dr. Martin Luther King that I winced when the “Six O’clock News” would show any news about Malcolm X. He scared the hell out of white people and he scared the hell out of me! I wanted to see the things that MLK preached come to fruition. Martin had the same vision that Malcolm X had to some degree. How they would get there was a different story. Malcolm X, by any means necessary in a sprint, and MLK more willing to run a marathon if that is what was required to make a dream come true.

    Being a Christian made me lean toward MLK and the Nation of Islam was something I didn’t understand then and I don’t really understand today. Hating groups of people for whatever reason is something I just don’t understand. In Malcolm’s later life he rejected his early allegiances and probably gave his life because of it. The Nation of Islam did do good things in the communities where they had a good infrastructure established. They gave black men and women a sense of pride, self confidence, self reliance, and a mindset that taught their followers that they could exist and prosper despite the condemnation of the “blue eyed devils”. I would see the “sister and brothers” dressed differently than I knew other black people to dress. Head dress for the woman, jackets and bowties for the men. There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.

    In the 60’s when assignations were common we lost John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and other folks that people hardly blink when their names are mentioned, such as Medgar Evers. Killing folks almost seemed the answer to what ailed you. I had just returned from a war in Southeast Asia when my hero was struck down in Memphis Tennessee. Whatever sympathies I had for Malcolm X were gone at that point.

    I have no problems if people today want to honor Malcolm X. I will not be out in the streets marching in his honor or taking a day off from work. You won’t see me, but if that day comes my right hand will be raised and clenched in my own little way and saying “Right on Brother!”

    I’m still looking for the next MLK, we need him desperately.

  91. darnell

    I am really torn when it comes to Malcolm X. In many ways I admire him and at the same time I loathe him. Most people will agree that his early years were not ones that would be considered exemplary. When you give praise to a person you don’t want to rationalize how and why they broke the law in a manner that is repulsive to you. You rationalize in your mind the things that could justify the actions they took to overcome injustices that only the victims of those injustices understand.

    I was so enamored by Dr. Martin Luther King that I winced when the “Six O’clock News” would show any news about Malcolm X. He scared the hell out of white people and he scared the hell out of me! I wanted to see the things that MLK preached come to fruition. Martin had the same vision that Malcolm X had to some degree. How they would get there was a different story. Malcolm X, by any means necessary in a sprint, and MLK more willing to run a marathon if that is what was required to make a dream come true.

    Being a Christian made me lean toward MLK and the Nation of Islam was something I didn’t understand then and I don’t really understand today. Hating groups of people for whatever reason is something I just don’t understand. In Malcolm’s later life he rejected his early allegiances and probably gave his life because of it. The Nation of Islam did do good things in the communities where they had a good infrastructure established. They gave black men and women a sense of pride, self confidence, self reliance, and a mindset that taught their followers that they could exist and prosper despite the condemnation of the “blue eyed devils”. I would see the “sister and brothers” dressed differently than I knew other black people to dress. Head dress for the woman, jackets and bowties for the men. There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.

    In the 60’s when assignations were common we lost John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and other folks that people hardly blink when their names are mentioned, such as Medgar Evers. Killing folks almost seemed the answer to what ailed you. I had just returned from a war in Southeast Asia when my hero was struck down in Memphis Tennessee. Whatever sympathies I had for Malcolm X were gone at that point.

    I have no problems if people today want to honor Malcolm X. I will not be out in the streets marching in his honor or taking a day off from work. You won’t see me, but if that day comes my right hand will be raised and clenched in my own little way and saying “Right on Brother!”

    I’m still looking for the next MLK, we need him desperately.

  92. darnell

    I am really torn when it comes to Malcolm X. In many ways I admire him and at the same time I loathe him. Most people will agree that his early years were not ones that would be considered exemplary. When you give praise to a person you don’t want to rationalize how and why they broke the law in a manner that is repulsive to you. You rationalize in your mind the things that could justify the actions they took to overcome injustices that only the victims of those injustices understand.

    I was so enamored by Dr. Martin Luther King that I winced when the “Six O’clock News” would show any news about Malcolm X. He scared the hell out of white people and he scared the hell out of me! I wanted to see the things that MLK preached come to fruition. Martin had the same vision that Malcolm X had to some degree. How they would get there was a different story. Malcolm X, by any means necessary in a sprint, and MLK more willing to run a marathon if that is what was required to make a dream come true.

    Being a Christian made me lean toward MLK and the Nation of Islam was something I didn’t understand then and I don’t really understand today. Hating groups of people for whatever reason is something I just don’t understand. In Malcolm’s later life he rejected his early allegiances and probably gave his life because of it. The Nation of Islam did do good things in the communities where they had a good infrastructure established. They gave black men and women a sense of pride, self confidence, self reliance, and a mindset that taught their followers that they could exist and prosper despite the condemnation of the “blue eyed devils”. I would see the “sister and brothers” dressed differently than I knew other black people to dress. Head dress for the woman, jackets and bowties for the men. There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.

    In the 60’s when assignations were common we lost John F. Kennedy, Malcolm X, Martin Luther King, Robert Kennedy, and other folks that people hardly blink when their names are mentioned, such as Medgar Evers. Killing folks almost seemed the answer to what ailed you. I had just returned from a war in Southeast Asia when my hero was struck down in Memphis Tennessee. Whatever sympathies I had for Malcolm X were gone at that point.

    I have no problems if people today want to honor Malcolm X. I will not be out in the streets marching in his honor or taking a day off from work. You won’t see me, but if that day comes my right hand will be raised and clenched in my own little way and saying “Right on Brother!”

    I’m still looking for the next MLK, we need him desperately.

  93. Rich Rifkin

    “There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.”

    When I lived in West Oakland (near McClymond’s H.S.), my neighborhood was about 95-98% black. The NOI had some presence in the neighborhood. They owned a bakery and of course had a mosque.

    Given the terrible problems with drugs, alcohol, crime, vandalism, domestic violence, police violence and prostitution (which was obvious with hookers all over the place), the Nation was actually a force for good. (Never mind the fact that I strongly abhor their racist philosophy.) The NOI did speak out against a lot of the social and criminal problems, and they did offer some young men a better alternative than drugs or gangs.

    However, I would constantly have a strange interaction with the NOI every time I went to the supermarket. Because of the crime and the guns, our local Safeway had metal detectors and armed security guards that you had to pass through in order to go shopping. This took a little bit of time. So often when I’d go to Safeway (in the evening after work), there would be a line out front, waiting to get into the supermarket. Standing alongside the line of shoppers was always a group of young men from the Nation, selling freshly made bean-pies. As each person stepped forward in line, they would aggressively, maybe even menacingly, offer a bean-pie for sale. I would guess that a little under half the people would buy one. But when it came to me — usually the only non-black person around — the NOI guys would bow their heads and ignore me until I passed. Never once was I offered the chance to purchase one of their pies. As soon as I stepped past them, they would raise their heads and start their sales pitch to the next person in line, as long as that person was black.

    It was an odd form of racism. I knew very well that their cult preaches hatred against white people. But I also felt relieved that I never had to say no to them because I didn’t want to buy one of their pies.

    Just to put some perspective on my living in the ghetto. Racism was otherwise unheard of in my neighborhood, at least as far as my personal experiences went. Basically, to my face, everyone I encountered was friendly. And many people who thought I might be victimized by hoodlums were always helpful to me, trying to make sure I did not get mugged or worse.

  94. Rich Rifkin

    “There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.”

    When I lived in West Oakland (near McClymond’s H.S.), my neighborhood was about 95-98% black. The NOI had some presence in the neighborhood. They owned a bakery and of course had a mosque.

    Given the terrible problems with drugs, alcohol, crime, vandalism, domestic violence, police violence and prostitution (which was obvious with hookers all over the place), the Nation was actually a force for good. (Never mind the fact that I strongly abhor their racist philosophy.) The NOI did speak out against a lot of the social and criminal problems, and they did offer some young men a better alternative than drugs or gangs.

    However, I would constantly have a strange interaction with the NOI every time I went to the supermarket. Because of the crime and the guns, our local Safeway had metal detectors and armed security guards that you had to pass through in order to go shopping. This took a little bit of time. So often when I’d go to Safeway (in the evening after work), there would be a line out front, waiting to get into the supermarket. Standing alongside the line of shoppers was always a group of young men from the Nation, selling freshly made bean-pies. As each person stepped forward in line, they would aggressively, maybe even menacingly, offer a bean-pie for sale. I would guess that a little under half the people would buy one. But when it came to me — usually the only non-black person around — the NOI guys would bow their heads and ignore me until I passed. Never once was I offered the chance to purchase one of their pies. As soon as I stepped past them, they would raise their heads and start their sales pitch to the next person in line, as long as that person was black.

    It was an odd form of racism. I knew very well that their cult preaches hatred against white people. But I also felt relieved that I never had to say no to them because I didn’t want to buy one of their pies.

    Just to put some perspective on my living in the ghetto. Racism was otherwise unheard of in my neighborhood, at least as far as my personal experiences went. Basically, to my face, everyone I encountered was friendly. And many people who thought I might be victimized by hoodlums were always helpful to me, trying to make sure I did not get mugged or worse.

  95. Rich Rifkin

    “There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.”

    When I lived in West Oakland (near McClymond’s H.S.), my neighborhood was about 95-98% black. The NOI had some presence in the neighborhood. They owned a bakery and of course had a mosque.

    Given the terrible problems with drugs, alcohol, crime, vandalism, domestic violence, police violence and prostitution (which was obvious with hookers all over the place), the Nation was actually a force for good. (Never mind the fact that I strongly abhor their racist philosophy.) The NOI did speak out against a lot of the social and criminal problems, and they did offer some young men a better alternative than drugs or gangs.

    However, I would constantly have a strange interaction with the NOI every time I went to the supermarket. Because of the crime and the guns, our local Safeway had metal detectors and armed security guards that you had to pass through in order to go shopping. This took a little bit of time. So often when I’d go to Safeway (in the evening after work), there would be a line out front, waiting to get into the supermarket. Standing alongside the line of shoppers was always a group of young men from the Nation, selling freshly made bean-pies. As each person stepped forward in line, they would aggressively, maybe even menacingly, offer a bean-pie for sale. I would guess that a little under half the people would buy one. But when it came to me — usually the only non-black person around — the NOI guys would bow their heads and ignore me until I passed. Never once was I offered the chance to purchase one of their pies. As soon as I stepped past them, they would raise their heads and start their sales pitch to the next person in line, as long as that person was black.

    It was an odd form of racism. I knew very well that their cult preaches hatred against white people. But I also felt relieved that I never had to say no to them because I didn’t want to buy one of their pies.

    Just to put some perspective on my living in the ghetto. Racism was otherwise unheard of in my neighborhood, at least as far as my personal experiences went. Basically, to my face, everyone I encountered was friendly. And many people who thought I might be victimized by hoodlums were always helpful to me, trying to make sure I did not get mugged or worse.

  96. Rich Rifkin

    “There was an intimidation factor when they asked (demanded) that you buy their newspaper Muhammad Speaks. I bought the paper and deposited in the trash when I was out of sight.”

    When I lived in West Oakland (near McClymond’s H.S.), my neighborhood was about 95-98% black. The NOI had some presence in the neighborhood. They owned a bakery and of course had a mosque.

    Given the terrible problems with drugs, alcohol, crime, vandalism, domestic violence, police violence and prostitution (which was obvious with hookers all over the place), the Nation was actually a force for good. (Never mind the fact that I strongly abhor their racist philosophy.) The NOI did speak out against a lot of the social and criminal problems, and they did offer some young men a better alternative than drugs or gangs.

    However, I would constantly have a strange interaction with the NOI every time I went to the supermarket. Because of the crime and the guns, our local Safeway had metal detectors and armed security guards that you had to pass through in order to go shopping. This took a little bit of time. So often when I’d go to Safeway (in the evening after work), there would be a line out front, waiting to get into the supermarket. Standing alongside the line of shoppers was always a group of young men from the Nation, selling freshly made bean-pies. As each person stepped forward in line, they would aggressively, maybe even menacingly, offer a bean-pie for sale. I would guess that a little under half the people would buy one. But when it came to me — usually the only non-black person around — the NOI guys would bow their heads and ignore me until I passed. Never once was I offered the chance to purchase one of their pies. As soon as I stepped past them, they would raise their heads and start their sales pitch to the next person in line, as long as that person was black.

    It was an odd form of racism. I knew very well that their cult preaches hatred against white people. But I also felt relieved that I never had to say no to them because I didn’t want to buy one of their pies.

    Just to put some perspective on my living in the ghetto. Racism was otherwise unheard of in my neighborhood, at least as far as my personal experiences went. Basically, to my face, everyone I encountered was friendly. And many people who thought I might be victimized by hoodlums were always helpful to me, trying to make sure I did not get mugged or worse.

  97. Anonymous

    Everyone has a story. We are “hard-wired” to create them to explain the world around us. Like all such tales, they are as much myth as reality and of little use to anyone else

  98. Anonymous

    Everyone has a story. We are “hard-wired” to create them to explain the world around us. Like all such tales, they are as much myth as reality and of little use to anyone else

  99. Anonymous

    Everyone has a story. We are “hard-wired” to create them to explain the world around us. Like all such tales, they are as much myth as reality and of little use to anyone else

  100. Anonymous

    Everyone has a story. We are “hard-wired” to create them to explain the world around us. Like all such tales, they are as much myth as reality and of little use to anyone else

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