Some time ago, on our passage to where we are now, in a small Virginia town
the Ku Klux Klan decided to have a march. This turned the town upside
down, and they were decidedly unwelcome. The general consensus was that
the march was best ignored, and to a remarkable extent it was. So the dim
bulbs in funny robes got no particular response, although they did get to march,
as was their constitutional right.
In Durham Monday, and on Duke's campus as well, the New Black Panther Party
plans to march on Monday and to "interview" the lacrosse players.
Myrna Shinbaum of the Anti-Defamation League, says they have a habit of
carrying weapons publicly. Malik Zulu Shabazz, the leader of the group,
says "I don't know if I can comment" on whether or not they will carry
weapons on campus, but John Burness, Duke's vice president for public affairs
and community relations, says while they are welcome to protest, they will not
be allowed to bring weapons on campus.
Shinbaum, correctly, calls them anti-semitic. To quote Shabazz,
according to the Southern Poverty Law Center:
- "We will never bow down to the white, Jewish, Zionist
- "[Khalid Abdul Muhammad is the man] who gives the white man
nightmares ... who makes the Jews pee in their pants at night."
Well, not anymore: Muhammad was shot dead in 2001 by a former member of
the Nation Of Islam.
You may remember Muhammad from when he was with the Nation Of Islam (and also
when he memorably broke with Louis Farrakhan) as the man who said such things
as: "We kill the women. We kill the babies. We kill the blind. We kill the
cripples. We kill them all. We kill the faggot. We kill the lesbian. ... When
you get through killing them all, go to the goddamn graveyard and dig up the
grave and kill them a-goddamn-gain, because they didn't die hard enough"
the first time.
- "hooked-nose, bagel-eating, lox-eating, perpetrating-a-fraud,
- "white devil crackers"
- "bloodsucking Jews"
Charming bunch of fellows, obviously.
Nonetheless, this looks largely like a publicity stunt. First of all,
the chances of getting anywhere near a lacrosse player seems minimal, even if
they do get on campus.
And secondly, Duke is private property and Duke has already said they will
not be allowed to bring weapons on campus (President
Brodhead issued a statement Friday saying that the NBBP "informed Duke
Police that they have no intention of entering the campus to be disruptive in
any way. They also assured us they will not have guns").
So when someone seeks to use you to publicize their own mindless cause, what
is the smart thing to do: to help them or to just walk away?
As one woman in Jasper, Texas said, when the New Panthers showed up after the
horrible killing of James Byrd Jr, "[w]e're praying for rain."
Durham, pretty clearly, is not a perfect town. There are a lot of problems,
not least among them race. But in spite of the problems, people aren't at
each others throats. A rainy day would be a good thing.
Unfortunately, the forecast calls for sunny skies. But everyone who is
on campus that day can and should rain on this particular parade.