MIllion Man March

jones/bhandari djones at uclink.berkeley.edu
Wed Oct 18 07:50:33 MDT 1995


>From Leo Casey:  

> On the one hand, we have the
>most overwrought spewing of vitriol and vulgar, offensive rhetoric aimed not
>simply at Farrakhan, which one might understand at some level, but also at
>every participant in the march, 

You give no examples from the actual posts that would warrant this
conclusion.  Sure, the headers were obnoxious but what about the arguments
inside?  Moreover, I titled my posts "bloodsuckers" and "the cult of the
male", the latter phrase coming from George Gilder whose political
agreement with Louis Farrakhan I thought worth emphasizing.  

The political message which the marchers will leave with is indeed very
damaging.  

For one, they will feel that as men they should now dominate political and
social decision-making; secondly, they will feel confident to promote their
understanding of so-called responsible action by stifling all other
expression in the community as irrelevant to the right-wing agenda which
has been set by this march and implicitly validated by the media and
national attention given to this 'historic' event ; thirdly, if they were
listening to Farrakhan, they will isolate the source of the problem as
bloodsuckers and economically independent women. 

While it seems impossible to disagree with the message of responsibility
towards children, it seems important to ask what effect will this march
have on how seriously  fathers take their African-American daughers.  
Also,  how helpful is this message of responsibility for people as
unorganized laborers, residents in the proximity of environmental hazards,
victims of unemployment, etc.?  

In short, the March will have sexist and depoliticizing effects--that was
its purpose after all. Leo, you are lucky (I presume) that your children
will not be raised in the misogynist, irrational and politically
domesticated culture formed by this march.

>  I think, to conclude
>that all of those black men were brought to Washington by a rhetorical/
>discursive interpellation which was simply reactionary and bigoted, or that
>they all were blindly taken in by demagoguery. It was not anti-Semitism, or
>sexism, or homophobia, that motivated them, and we neglect the power of
>messages of responsibility, dedication to family and community, and of
>spiritual reconciliation at our own risk. 

First, let's not forget the vast majority of African-American men did not
feel moved enough to go, despite all the media hype and outreach done by
churches, schools and various organizations. Their 'blackness' may now be
doubted, but perhaps these alienated souls will be the people most likely
to carry out revoutionary acts in the future. Don't underestimate them just
because the media has generally ignored them.

Second, you ignore at your peril how Farrakhan has further legitimized
various forms of blind hatred.  You are naive to think the men return from
this march  ready for open political discussion. The task ahead will be
much more difficult.   

Rakesh 






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