Black Racial Consciousness,
Hatred for whites is often part of black identity
Part I, in the previous issue, described the extent to which blacks identify with their race. Part II begins with the widespread assumption among blacks that race and culture cannot be separated.
One of the essential rules of white racial etiquette is to assume that culture is independent of race, that anyone of any color from anywhere in the world can be a full participant in any civilization. Many blacks would disagree; they appear to believe that culture is inseparable from biology. Camille Hernandez-Ramdawar’s mother is white and her father was a black from Trinidad. Her parents separated, and her white mother reared her. She recognized that her mother loved her, but when she became an adult she found there was something her mother could not give her: “a culture that matched her color.”
Heather Green, a Canadian of black-white parentage, explains her own embrace of blackness:
“If I do anything short of vigilantly embracing my African identity — consciously, wholeheartedly and without illusions about African realities — than I may be swept away, co-opted, consumed and sucked into the European power structure, culture and mindset … Identifying as an African woman, as a daughter of African people and African ancestors, I vow that I am not and will not become part of any value system which seeks to crush other races through its way of life.”
This is a particularly harsh view of “European” society, and is a complete rejection of half her parentage. Nevertheless, the assumption that culture follows biology is at the root of the official black view of cross-racial adoption. In 1972, the National Association of Black Social Workers (the one that holds exclusively black conferences) officially took the stance that adoption of blacks by whites was “genocide.” In 1994, it withdrew the charge that it is genocide, but still opposes adoption by whites.The association asserts “black children in white homes are cut off from the healthy development of themselves as black people.”
South African blacks agree. Under white rule, it was illegal for whites to adopt black babies, but after the African National Congress took power in 1994 it repealed the ban. The AIDS epidemic and the social disruption that followed the end of apartheid have led to growing numbers of abandoned black babies, with hundreds given up for adoption every month. Whites have adopted some of these babies but many blacks are horrified, and want to reinstitute the ban. “These children, the next generation, will be tainted for ever because they will never know who they are,” said one black social worker.
The close tie between black race and culture is evident elsewhere. Over the years, communities of Ethiopian Jews have emigrated to Israel. Although most have never been to the United States or even seen an American black, they are passionate fans of rap music, hip-hop fashion, and “gangsta” demeanor, and show no interest in Israeli pop culture. “All the Ethiopians try to imitate the (American) blacks,” says 16-year-old Batya Tadela, also from Ethiopia.
|A 2004 poll found that only 41 percent of black voters had “a lot” of confidence that their votes would be counted in November.|
The same link between race and culture is behind the growth in the United States of two recent black movements: Kwanzaa and the Black Muslims. Both started from nothing and now have millions of supporters and members — essentially all black. Kwanzaa was invented in 1966 by a black activist named Ron Karenga as a black holiday for the Christmas season. US Presidents now deliver official Kwanzaa greetings, and the Postal Service issues Kwanzaa stamps. According to a 2004 survey by the National Retail Foundation, 4.7 million Americans celebrated the holiday. Kwanzaa does not formally exclude whites, but local organizers sometimes keep out non-blacks. One reporter wrote recently that a major celebration in Buffalo would not let a white journalist cover the event but welcomed black journalists. Even recent cultural artifacts can quickly become exclusively black.
As for the Black Muslims, they have grown from a handful in the 1930s, to nearly three million. If this rate of growth were to continue, Islam could rival Christianity in some urban areas. Blacks who may not, themselves, be members of the Nation of Islam have great respect for its anti-white leader, Louis Farrakhan. Users of the Internet arm of Black Entertainment Television, BET.com, chose him as the black “person of the year” for 2005. Mr. Farrakhan was elected over Oprah Winfrey, Senator Barack Obama, Robert L. Johnson, who started BET, and “the suffering victims of Hurricane Katrina of New Orleans.” As Retha Hill, BET.com’s vice president for content, explained, “An overwhelming percentage of our users agreed that Minister Farrakhan made the most positive impact on the Black community over the past year.”
|Rashard Casey doesn’t like black women dating white men.|
What did Mr. Farrakhan do in 2005 to deserve that honor? He received heavy news coverage twice that year. Once was when he promoted the theory that whites blew up the New Orleans levees to destroy black neighborhoods. The other was when he organized a “Millions More Movement” on the National Mall to celebrate the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March. On that occasion, Michael Muhammad, National Youth Minister for the Nation of Islam declaimed: “We want to say to our young brothers of the Crips and the Bloods that we are one family. The real enemy doesn’t wear blue, but white, even when he’s butt naked.”
Ayinde Baptiste, a Nation of Islam speaker from an early age, added: “We are at war here in America and across the world… We need soldiers now. We need black male soldiers, we need black feminist soldiers, we need Crips and Bloods soldiers … soldiers in the prisons, soldiers in the streets.” He did not need to point out whom these soldiers were to fight. The Congressional Black Caucus endorsed the event and five black Congressmen attended it.
To embrace blackness often means a deep hostility to interracial dating. Interracial couples often report more open hostility from blacks than whites. It is not surprising, therefore, that Interrace magazine, which was published for mixed-race couples, found in a reader poll that heavily-black Detroit was the major US city least receptive to black-white couples. Atlanta was most receptive, but mixed couples generally found the whitest cities the most welcoming.
Many mixed-race people have reported that when they were growing up, black children were more cruel than white children. One woman recalls blacks calling her “half-white bitch” or “half-white monkey.” Another says children called her “honky nigger.”
|Black “person of the year” for 2005|
Some white men react harshly when they see “their” women with black men, but blacks are now probably more likely than whites to resort to violence against a mixed couple. Rashard Casey was the star quarterback of the Penn State football team. In 2000, he and another black visited a Hoboken, New Jersey, nightclub and were angry to find a black woman with a white man. “What are you doing with him?” they asked. “You should be with us; you’re one of us.” When the white man, Patrick Fitzsimmons, left the bar, the two blacks knocked him down and nearly kicked him to death. Mr. Fitzsimmons had what could almost be called professional reasons for escorting a black lady. He was a tolerance training instructor for the Hoboken Police Department.
Blacks understand that marrying outside their race brings a serious risk of being “not black enough.” Almost no whites have ever heard of Tyler Perry, but he is one of America’s most successful black playwrights and movie producers. A budget movie adapted from one of his stage shows, “Diary of a Mad Black Woman,” surprised the industry by opening at No. 1 at the box office, and eventually taking in more than $50 million. “African-American women are the most loyal fan base you’ll ever have,” he explains. “As long as you don’t marry outside the race, you are in.”
This is an old concern. No less a person than W.E.B. Du Bois, founder of the modern black civil rights movement, fell in love with a German girl named Dora Marbach when he was young, but decided not to marry her. He had made up his mind to be a leader of black people, and knew that a white wife would discredit him.
A common aspect of black racial consciousness is the conviction that whites are irredeemably racist. Undoubtedly, there are some whites who do not like blacks, but the sentiments many blacks attribute to whites are nothing short of caricature. Film producer Spike Lee, for example, explained to Playboy in 2004 why he would never go to an event sponsored by the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing: “I just imagine hearing some Country-and-Western song over a loudspeaker at NASCAR: ‘Hang them n****r up high! Hang them n****r up high!’ I’m not going to no NASCAR.” Academy Award-winning actor Denzel Washington likewise explains, “a whole lot of people in the country won’t go to a movie I’m in because I’m black. Period.”
As noted earlier in Part I, a solid majority of blacks believe the US government is giving them AIDS, so it should not be surprising that they should believe other things that reflect badly on whites. A 2004 BET/CBS poll found that only 41 percent of black registered voters had “a lot” of confidence that their votes would even be counted in November, and no fewer than 68 percent agreed with the statement that there are “deliberate attempts to disrupt African American voting.”
In a survey of blacks supported by Oregon State University and the Rand Corporation, one third said medical institutions use minorities as “guinea pigs” to try out new birth control methods. Almost one-fourth agreed that “poor and minority women are sometimes forced to be sterilized by the government,” and 22 percent agreed that “the government’s family-planning policies are intended to control the number of black people.”
Only 36 percent of blacks — as opposed to 61 percent of whites — support doctor-assisted suicide. Rev. James Perkins of Detroit’s Greater Christ Baptist Church says it is because they believe such a system would be manipulated so that blacks would be “receiving less medical care and [were] more often eliminated.” Mary Evans, one of two black members of the board of a non-profit group that advocates physician-assisted suicide, explains that “people in the black community see death with dignity as just another way for them to be offed.”
It was widely reported during the relief efforts that followed Hurricane Katrina that many blacks believed New Orleans had been neglected because so many of the victims were black. Seventy percent of blacks — and 30 percent of whites — believed this. Nor was it only Louis Farrakhan who claimed the government had blown up the New Orleans levees to flood black neighborhoods. There were no scientific polls taken on this question, but a black Washington Post columnist explained: “I was stunned in New Orleans at how many black New Orleanians would tell me with real conviction that somehow the levee breaks had been engineered in order to save the French Quarter and the Garden District at the expense of the Lower Ninth Ward, which is almost all black… These are not wild-eyed people. These are reasonable, sober people who really believe that.”
|W.E.B. Du Bois meets one of his heroes.|
The late Carl Rowan was a syndicated columnist, head of the USIA, ambassador to Finland, and served on the National Security Council, but it would probably be safe to assume he would have been among those who thought black New Orleans was deliberately flooded. In a 1996 book called The Coming Race War in America, he wrote that whites are so inveterately racist that blacks will soon rise up in massive violence. He claimed that “corporate boardrooms, local governments, education districts, are full of powerful men and women who are virulent bigots,” and wrote of “cruelly bigoted rhetoric that often befouls the well of the House of Representatives.” Although he failed to provide examples, he wrote: “As surely as though they were Third Reich propagandists paving the way for a blitzkrieg, we see the right-wing hate-mongers all over the American media, spewing forth venom that energizes the white supremacists.”
Ellis Cose is a black journalist who often writes for Newsweek. He insists that racism is so pervasive that “despite its very evident prosperity, much of America’s black middle class is in excruciating pain.” He claims that “decent black people” with good, white-collar jobs “are themselves in a state of either silent resentment or deeply repressed rage. Taken as a group, they are at least as disaffected and pessimistic as those struggling at society’s periphery.”
It is hard for whites to understand “excruciating pain” and “repressed rage” when they can think of no white institutions and very few white individuals who could be described as persecuting blacks. Three black social workers, Sekou Mims, Omar Reid, and Larry Higginbottom, have recognized this very problem and have a name for it: “post traumatic slavery disorder (PTSD).” Mr. Reid runs support groups for black men who are filled with rage and anxiety despite the fact that there are no obvious white oppressors in their lives. PTSD causes it, he says. There may be few whites today who actively oppress blacks, but past oppression still has dramatic effects. PTDS therefore causes crime, illegitimacy, drug-taking, and school failure. “Black people as a whole are suffering from PTSD,” explains Mr. Mims, who hopes to have the disorder recognized as an official medical diagnosis.
Suspicion of whites begins early. A professor of education studied how black and white high school students differed in how they evaluated different sources of historical knowledge:
“When asked to rank order the credibility of a range of sources, white students selected history textbooks, history teachers, and library books as the three most reputable… Black student selected family members, black teachers, and documentaries/videos by or about black people. They thought that traditional teachers and textbooks represented ‘white people’s history’ … Family members and other black adults were trustworthy because elders and others passed down ‘what really happened’ in the past.”
Black author Patricia Turner has written an eye-opening book called I Heard it Through the Grapevine about some of the terrible things blacks think whites are trying to do to them. She reports that in the 1980s many blacks believed Church’s fried chicken was laced with a chemical that would sterilize blacks. She writes that in 1984, then-Congressman Jim Bates of California actually had the FDA test some of the chicken, using gas chromatography and mass spectrometry. A black boycott weakened the chain, and it merged with Popeye’s Chicken and Biscuits. In the 1990s, a soft drink called Tropical Fantasy had to mount a long, hard campaign to squelch the same sterilization rumor.
Miss Turner reports that one company probably went under because of paranoid rumors. The Troop Sport brand of clothing was very popular with blacks in the 1980s even though most whites had never heard of it. According to a company spokesman, 95 percent of sales were to blacks and Hispanics. Then word got around that the Ku Klux Klan owned the company, and that Troop stood for “To Rule Over Oppressed People.” Inside the linings were supposed to be messages like “Thank you, nigger, for making us rich.” Troop started putting up anti-Klan ads in stores and hired the black group Gladys Knight and the Pips to promote the brand. It didn’t work; the company went out of business.
If people really believe the government is giving him AIDS and blowing up levees, that white-owned companies are trying to sterilize them, and that corporate board rooms are filled with “virulent bigots,” they would be lacking in normal human emotions if they did not — to put it bluntly — hate white people.
Indeed, expressions of explicit anti-white hatred go back to at least the time of W.E.B. Du Bois, who once wrote, “It takes extraordinary training, gift and opportunity to make the average white man anything but an overbearing hog, but the most ordinary Negro is an instinctive gentleman.”
On another occasion he expressed similar sentiments in verse:
I hate them, Oh!
I hate them well,
I hate them, Christ!
As I hate hell!
If I were God,
I’d sound their knell
One might argue that in Du Bois’s time, when segregation was widespread and discrimination was still common, such sentiments were understandable. Today, many whites find them less justified, but they may be more common than ever. Amiri Baraka, originally known as LeRoi Jones, is one of America’s most famous and well-regarded black poets. His work is brimming with anti-white animus as in these lines from “Black Dada Nihilismus:”
Come up, black dada nihilismus.
Rape the white girls.
Rape their fathers.
Cut the mothers’ throats.
In “Leroy” he wrote: “When I die, the consciousness I carry I will to black people. May they pick me apart and take the useful parts, the sweet meat of my feelings. And leave the bitter bullshit rotten white parts alone.” In July, 2002, Mr. Baraka was appointed poet laureate of New Jersey, but came under criticism only when he wrote about the Sept. 11 attacks: “Who told 4,000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers to stay home that day? Why did Sharon stay away?”
|Amiri Baraka: “Rape the white girls.”|
Casual observations by blacks reveal attitudes whites may not suspect. On March 10, 2003, two policemen died in a shootout at the Stapleton Houses in New York City. Almost everyone who lives in the housing project is black. Grace Watkins, an 18-year-old resident, explained that when people learned about the killings they said they thought the policemen got what they deserved. “I think a lot of people out here weren’t worried about [the shootings] because they thought they were white cops, but when they heard the cops were black, their attitude changed totally,” she said. “And they started expressing concern for the police officers’ families.”
Toni Morrison is a celebrated black author who has won the Nobel Prize, but her white admirers may be surprised by her views: “With very few exceptions, I feel that White people will betray me; that in the final analysis they’ll give me up.” “It’s just a kind of constant vigilance and awareness that maybe these relationships [friendship with whites] can go just so far.” She has also explained why there are no major white characters in her novels: “What is interesting to me is what is going on within the community. And within the community, there are no major White players.”
Author Randall Robinson has concluded after years of activism that “in the autumn of my life, I am left regarding white people, before knowing them individually, with irreducible mistrust and dull dislike.” He wrote that it gave him pleasure that when his father was dying he slapped a white nurse, telling her not “to put her white hands on him.”
In June 2006, Professor Leonard Jeffries of the City University of New York spoke at a “Unity in Diversity” forum at New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development. He told the 100 or so mostly black city workers that blacks have absorbed too much white thinking: “If every white person in the world dropped dead, the system [that oppresses you] would continue to go on, because it’s in you now.” To roars of approval, he explained how blacks should purge themselves of white thinking: “My basic rule of thumb is to stay away from things white. Take the whiteness out of your minds, or at least neutralize it with blackness.” Prof. Jeffries says blacks should avoid white milk, white bread and white sugar, and that coffee-drinkers should “take it black.” For more than an hour, he mocked and ridiculed whites.
|Probably not very fond of whites.|
Khalid Abdul Muhammed, an assistant to Louis Farrakhan once observed:
“Hollywood is owned by these so-called Jews. Look at the movies they make about us, Black people killing Black people. Let’s make some revolutionary movies where we kill white people in the movie. Kill ‘em so hard you have to cover up your popcorn from the blood spraying out of the screen.”
Black rap artists commonly express hatred and contempt for whites. This is just a small sampling from the large number of anti-white lyrics found in recordings:
“They got us brainwashed to be the minority, but when we kill them off we gonna be the majority … if the whites speak up, then I’ll lead my people, because two wrongs don’t make it right but it damn sure make us equal; I’m inciting riots, so let’s start the looting … in this revolution I loathe my enemy …”
“A fight, a fight, a nigger and a white, if the nigger don’t win then we all jump in … smoking [killing] all America’s white boys …”
“I kill a devil [white] right now … I say kill whitey all nightey long… I would kill a cracker for nothing, just for the fuck of it … Menace Clan kill a cracker; jack ’em even quicker … catch that devil slipping; blow his fucking brains out.”
“Devils [whites] fear this brand new shit … I bleed them next time I see them … I prey on these devils … filling his body up with lead, yah; cracker in my way; slitting, slit his throat; watch his body shake; watch his body shake; that’s how we do it in the motherfucking [San Francisco] Bay …”
Fantasies about killing whites are not limited to the “gangsta” underground. Jazz musician Miles Davis once said, “If somebody told me I had only one hour to live, I’d spend it choking a white man. I’d do it nice and slow.” bell hooks, a black professor of English at City College of New York, who insists on spelling her name in lower case, once wrote, “I am writing this essay sitting beside an anonymous white male that I long to murder.” Demond Washington, a star athlete at Tallassee High School in Tallassee, Alabama, got in trouble for saying over the school intercom, “I hate white people and I’m going to kill them all!” Later he said he did not really mean it.
Someone who probably did mean it was Dr. Kamau Kambon, black activist and former visiting professor of Africana Studies at North Carolina State University in Raleigh. In 2006, Prof. Kambon told a panel at Howard University Law School that “we [blacks] are at war” and that white people had set up an “international plantation” for blacks. “White people want to kill us,” he added. “They want to kill you because that is part of their plan.” Dr. Kambon’s solution? “We have to exterminate white people off the face of the planet to solve this problem.”
It may be that Prof. Kambon was unusual only in that his remarks were broadcast by C-SPAN. In 2005, I was on a radio program with James “Jimi” Izrael, a black editorial assistant for the Lexington, Kentucky, Herald-Leader, to talk about Prof. Kambon. I mentioned other famous blacks who have publicly fantasized about killing whites, and Mr. Izrael began to laugh. “Listen,” he said, “I’m laughing because if I had a dollar for every time I heard a black person [talking about] killing somebody white I’d be a millionaire, like, once or twice a week.”
For some, killing whites is not mere fantasy. Although the press was quiet about this aspect of the story, the two snipers who terrorized the Washington, DC, area in 2002 had a specifically racial motive. Lee Malvo testified that his confederate John Muhammad was driven by hatred of America because of its “slavery, hypocrisy and foreign policy.” His plan was to kill six whites a day for 30 days.
Mr. Malvo and Mr. Muhammad did not get very far with their plan. The Black Muslims behind what became known as the Zebra Killings were more successful. For a 179-day period in 1973 and 1974, a group of “Death Angels” kept the city of San Francisco in a state of panic as they killed dozens of randomly-chosen “blue-eyed devils.” Some 71 deaths were eventually attributed to them. Four of an estimated 14 Death Angels were convicted of first-degree murder. Most Americans have never heard of the Zebra Killings.
Although the common assumption about American race relations is that whites, not blacks, nurse racial hostilities that often erupt in violence, racially-motivated murder of whites by blacks is considerably more common. Murders like that of James Byrd, dragged to death by whites in 1998, are well reported, but racial murder by blacks is little publicized.
|“All I knew was she had blond hair and blue eyes and she had to die. If I’d have had a gun, there’d be a lot of dead white people on the streets of White Plains.”|
For example, in Wilkinsburg, near Philadelphia, 39-year-old Ronald Taylor killed three men and wounded two others in a 2000 rampage, in which he targeted only whites. At one point, he pushed a black woman out of his way, saying “Not you, sister,” and was heard to say, “I’m not going to hurt any black people. I’m just out to kill all white people.” At one point, he also aimed a gun at a white woman’s head, uttered what news reports called “a racial epithet,” and then said, “No, I think I’ll terrorize you for a while.” Fortunately, he did not shoot her.
Police found anti-white diatribes in his apartment, but were careful to play down any possible racial motive. As the town’s police chief explained, “There’s a lot of anger and hostility in this individual, so I think it’s a little premature to simply define this as a racist event.”
In the same year, Obie Weathers ran amok in San Antonio, Texas. He attacked but did not manage to kill two elderly white men. Later he found 82-year-old Norma Petrash in her home and beat her to death. All three whites — attacked within 24 hours — lived within a six-block radius, but the killer does not appear to have known them. One detective said Mr. Weathers told him, “I hate all white people.”
Also in 2000, a black man named Gregory Devon Murphy walked into a quiet, residential neighborhood in Alexandria, Virginia, and casually slit the throat of an eight-year-old white boy playing in his front yard. When police searched the man’s belongings they found a note that said “Kill them raceess whiate kidd’s anyway.” Mr. Murphy had already served time for attacking a white man without provocation, calling him “whitey,” and beating him with a hammer.
In 2005, Philip Grant, who is black, stabbed Concetta Russo-Carriero to death in a shopping mall parking lot in White Plains, New York. In a video-taped confession, he explained why he murdered her: “I never saw her before, and I didn’t care. All I knew was she had blond hair and blue eyes and she had to die. If I’d have had a gun [that day], there’d be a lot dead white people on the streets of White Plains.” He added: “I was thinking that the first person I see this morning that looks white, I’m killing them. I have no remorse whatsoever because she was white.” A jury convicted him of murder.
It is safe to assume that if the races had been reversed in these cases — if whites had murdered blacks for racial reasons — there would have been considerably more news coverage.
Ever since serious riots in April 2001, Cincinnati has suffered racial tension that occasionally breaks out into anti-white violence. In 2002, police attracted a crowd when they broke up a fight between two black women. The crowd became a mob and started throwing rocks at whites driving by. Gary Landers, a photographer for the Cincinnati Inquirer, ventured into the area looking for news but ventured out when someone shouted at him: “Get your white ass out of here. We oughta just kill all you white (expletive deleted) and we wouldn’t have no more problems.”
Although he did not commit murder, in his autobiography Makes Me Wanna Holler, Washington Post journalist Nathan McCall remembered an episode from his early years:
“The fellas and I were hanging out on our corner one afternoon when the strangest thing happened. A white boy … came pedaling a bicycle casually through the neighborhood … Somebody spotted him and pointed him out to the rest of us. ‘Look! What’s that motherfucka doin’ ridin’ through here?! Is he crraaaazy?!’ … We caught him on Cavalier Boulevard and knocked him off the bike … Ignoring the passing cars, we stomped him and kicked him. My stick partners kicked him in the head and face and watched the blood gush from his mouth. I kicked him in the stomach and nuts, where I knew it would hurt. Every time I drove my foot into his balls, I felt better … one dude kept stomping, like he’d gone berserk … When he finished, he reached down and picked up the white dude’s bike, lifted it as high as he could above his head, and slammed it down on him hard … We walked away, laughing, boasting, competing for bragging rights about who’d done the most damage.”
Mr. McCall expressed no regrets for this brutality.
Many whites have no direct experience of the active hatred many blacks feel for them, but it can crop up in unexpected places. Frank Ahrens writes in the Washington Post of walking through a lively part of Washington, DC, and admiring the music of a black sidewalk saxophonist. As he was about to compliment the man, the black said to him, “After 42 years in this life, I learned one thing: White people suck!” Mr. Ahrens later watched as a white woman dropped a bill into the man’s saxophone case only to be met with a snarling racial slur. “She staggered in response, as if shoved,” he wrote.
A generalized hatred of whites is not restricted to American blacks. Faraday Nkoane, leader of the Uhuru cultural club in Pretoria, South Africa, told a young audience at a Human Rights Day celebration that stealing from whites “is the right thing to do.” He went on:
“Stop stealing from black people … The whites have stolen from us since April 6, 1652. Our ancestors’ cattle, goats, sheep, chickens and others are in the hands of the whites, while we are left with nothing… Taking from whites is not a crime because you repossess what belongs to you. But make sure you are not caught.”
Amiri Bakara, poet laureate of New Jersey, expressed the same sentiments years earlier, and even put them in blank verse:
You cant steal nothin from a white man, he’s already
stole it he owes
you anything you want, even his life. All the stores will
open up if you
will say the magic words. The magic words are: Up against
the wall motherfucker this is a stick up!
Robert Mugabe, president of Zimbabwe, has made a name for himself as a hater of white people. He has systematically driven white farmers off their land, and has called for the expulsion of all whites. “Our party must continue to strike fear in the heart of the white man, our real enemy,” he once told a party congress. “Zimbabwe,” he says, “is for black people, not white people.” The expulsion of whites, who had run a very successful economy, plunged his people into deep hardship, but it made him extremely popular with blacks who do not live in Zimbabwe. The overwhelmingly black readers of the British magazine New Africa voted him the third greatest African of all time, after Nelson Mandela and Kwame Nkrumah, the first post-colonial African leader (Martin Luther King, Jr. was seventh and Malcolm X was ninth).
Some American blacks are equally impressed with Mr. Mugabe. On Sept. 12, 2002, he offered the United Nations General Assembly in New York City a spirited defense of his policy of driving out white farmers. That afternoon, at New York’s City Council chamber, he spoke on the same theme to an audience from the City Council’s Black and Hispanic Caucus. Charles Barron, a Brooklyn council member and former Black Panther who had invited Mr. Mugabe to City Hall, hugged him and held his hand aloft like a victorious boxer.
Mr. Barron no doubt sees a kindred spirit in Mr. Mugabe. At a rally for reparations for slavery, he once said he sometimes wants to go up to a white person, say, “You can’t understand this, it’s a black thing,” and then “slap him just for my mental health.”
“Black Racial Consciousness” will conclude in the next issue.