By SYLVIA WEINSTEIN
The Southern Poverty Law Center, a liberal civil rights group in Birmingham, Ala., has listed the Nation of Islam (NOI) as a hate group along with 474 others in this country.
The SPLC, which began its “hate lists” in 1981, has been a respected group that provided a useful service in revealing “hate groups.” But by adding the Nation of Islam to its list of “hate groups,” it destroys it’s own credablity.
“Hate groups are based on a number of criteria” said Joe Roy Sr., director of the SPLC’s Intelligence report. “We look at groups based on their racial hatred and we look at the activities of its membership from their publications and transcripts.”
The Intelligence Report reads: “We hesitate with a group like the Nation of Islam because we recognize that its racism is largely a response to white racism.” Well, duh.
To put the NOI on the same list with violent white-racist groups like the Ku Klux Klan defames this Black organization and distorts what it stands for. Just because the NOI recognizes the need for self-defense does not mean that it advocates violence. This decision opens the door to violence-bating other groups of oppressed nationalities in this country that similarly advocate self-defense tactics.
Actually, the NOI has never been involved in any kind of hate violence in its 60-year history.
But I can easily describe hate to anyone who will listen. Let’s take a look at Jasper, Tex. On June 7, three white men tied a Black man to their rear bumper and dragged him to his death. He was James Boyd Jr., 49 years old.
The three white men&emdash;Shawn Allen Berry, John William King, and Lawrence R. Brewer&emdash;had all done time in prison. Berry and King served time for a bungled burglary, and Brewer seven years for peddling cocaine. While in prison, both Brewer and King joined the Confederate Knights of America, a hate group.
In describing prisons, Mark Potok, a spokesman for the SPLC said,” The truth is the level of racism in prison is very high. The truth is, you may go into prison completely unracist and emerge ready to kill people who don’t look like you.” Evidently that’s what happened in this case.
But don’t think that Jasper, Tex., is the only place that hate thrives.
On June 8, Victor Palmer, Victor Triollion, Celia Rivera, Diseree Butler, and Butler’s daughter, 11-month old Keianna White, were walking on Page Street in San Francisco in the Haight Ashbury section when they became surrounded by about 20 white men who began attacking them.
McDavid, one of the white men, pulled out a knife and began attacking all three adults. McDavid knocked over the baby’s stroller and said, “Fuck the baby.” He has been arrested is and being held on $60,000 bail. A protest against this racist act was held on June 20 in the Haight-Ashbury.
Has Minister Louis Farrakan ever tied a white man to his bumper and dragged him to death? How many whites have been found hanging from trees, left there by Black men.?
If the Southern Poverty Law Center can answer yes to those questions, then they might have a might have a right to call the NOI racist, but if not they should remove them from the list and apologize immediately.
The truth is that the United States ruling class has an ongoing history of racism and vicious crimes against Blacks and other ethnic minorities. The capitalist class has a material interest in dividing and ruling the working class, Black and white. This is not the time to muck up that truth with lies about the Nation of Islam.