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On Tuesday, Minister Louis Farrakhan spoke on the campus of Howard University. For me it was a bit surreal. Not because of Farrakhan’s stature, but because only a few months ago did Republican National Committee Chairman and spinster Ken Mehlman speak on our campus hoping to lure the young and opportunistic into the fold. What a difference a few months make.

Farrakhan’s appearance was promoted as the minister paying homage to publishing pioneer and namesake of our school of communications, John H. Johnson. Farrakhan admitted that he did not know Johnson personally, however. Well you know, get in where you fit in. I can’t be mad at that.

I’m not particularly fond of Farrakhan, but I will admit that his speech was pretty enjoyable. The man is a talented orator. Full of charm, panache, and has that cut-the-bullshit-let’s-get-to-the-real delivery that I can’t help but admire.

Farrakhan touched on a number of issues. The effects of globalization on our economy. America being an empire on decline. The need for blacks to become more proficient in mathematics and science instead of focusing on athletics and entertainment.

Like the story of Malcolm being encouraged to become a carpenter versus a lawyer, Farrakhan shared his tale of being told by his 6th grade teacher that it would be in his best interest to become a violinist rather than a doctor. Farrakhan told us that whites seek to keep blacks in disciplines that don’t challenge white supremacy.

He then proceeded into breaking down the gender make up of our school, which is currently 62% female. He posed the question I’m sure many educated black females have posed to themselves, “Who am I to marry?” Farrakhan suggested that there is a conspiracy to destroy black men, employing biblical text to drive the point home.

He used a lot of Christian doctrine to reel the audience in. So much that I began to wonder if he lost his Qu’ran and decided to pick up whatever book was left around. I haven’t heard so much Jesus since the last time I watched the Stellar awards.

While everyone hooted and hollered at Reverend Louie, I started to wonder what reaction a crowd inside of a mosque would give Jesse Jackson had he discussed the teachings of Elijah Muhammad.

Even I had to give him credit for taking a swipe at T.D. Jakes, who only days before dodged the Kanye West question on CNN, pretending that race had nothing to do w/ the relief efforts or lack thereof in New Orleans. Coward. Then again, when you’re in bed w/ the Bush administration, you can’t formulate an opinion that hasn’t been crafted by Karl Rove. Besides, I’m sure those checks he gets only help keep him closer to God.

I loved that Farrakhan touched on Americans being dumbed down and how it’s creating even more sheep in this country.

I even had to rise up and applaud his comment about most universities being modern day plantations as they don’t prepare their students to be critical thinkers and to question things; rather, they encourage and train you to get in where you fit in. Many students at Howard fit that bill to a tee.

All and all, it was a bit touch and go, but after the speech my dislike for him went down. I think part of it was a bit extra, but many speakers of his fame are extra. He is trying to uplift people of color, which is more than I can say for many of his fellow black leaders – particularly the show boating, Benz driving, hallelujah come lately pastors bamboozling parishioners by turning attention to petty political issues while turning a blind eye to the poor economic climate and its effect on our community. Yes, protest abortion, gay marriage, and other cultural issues of little relevance and ignore that your people are hungry, dying, and nihilistic. That’s the sure fire way to lead them onto the promised land. I almost want to sell a bean pie outside of a few churches in protest.

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