Trump and Farrakhan

A friend of mine said something to me last week which has kept me thinking. He said, “Why do you think the media lets Donald Trump say anything he wants, but has basically censored Minister Louis Farrakhan? Why do you think it’s OK for Trump to say hateful, racist, sexist things, and it’s not OK for Farrakhan?”

I didn’t know. I had honestly never thought about it.

Both Trump and Farrakhan “tell it like it is” according to their followers. Both men have a penchant for speaking to the hearts and spirits of people who are mostly ignored, groups of people who feel marginalized and forgotten, and who are angry about it.
Both men are angry, and make no bones about it.

But Trump gets a pass; the media pretty much looks the other way and refuses to call him to accountability for what he says, while Farrakhan has been vilified and marginalized.

Nothing Trump has said has made the media act like responsible journalists. Most of those who interview him seldom really challenge him and when they do, they allow him to talk over them. They cannot get a word in edgewise.

There have been exceptions. Fox anchor Megyn Kelly, who dared challenge Trump on the statements he has made about women has not backed down. Her challenge caused him to go ballistic, and to attack her in a most disturbing way. As a public figure, seeking the presidency, he had no right to say, in response to her questioning of him, that she had blood “coming out of her whatever..” (( Trump is so bothered by Kelly that he now says she should not participate in an upcoming debate, saying she is biased. ( What she seems to be is determined not to let him bully her.

George Stephanopoulos also challenged Trump ( and Trump was questioned when he said he saw Muslims dancing in the streets after 911 (

But little stops this man and his rants. Not even his latest statement about being able to go in the middle of 5th Avenue in New York and shoot someone and still not lose supporters has garnered a full blown challenge. ( Anchors have been giggling and have been shaking their heads, but they have not been willing to really challenge him. It is troubling to watch and to listen to.

Trump has been disparaging against women, Mexicans in general and illegal Mexican immigrants in particular. He has put down John McCain as a war hero. He has proposed to ban all Muslims from this country. He talked disparagingly about fellow GOP presidential rival Carly Fiorina, saying, “look at that face!” He likened Dr. Ben Carson, also in the GOP race, to a child molester. When journalist Tavis Smiley challenged the media for not challenging Trump, Smiley got a dose of “Trumpitis” as well, as the presidential contender called Smiley a “hater and a racist” after Smiley said that Trump was a “racial and religious arsonist.”

None of what Trump has said, in person, in front of cameras or via Twitter has been enough for the media to turn away from him.

Farrakhan, on the other hand, has been soundly sanctioned by American media. The head of the Nation of Islam has been unabashed about his disgust with white supremacy and Jewish people. According to the Southern Poverty Law Center, Farrakhan “… is an anti-Semite who routinely accuses Jews of manipulating the U.S. government and controlling the levers of world power. Farrakhan blames Jews for the slave trade, plantation slavery, Jim Crow, sharecropping and general black oppression.” (
In 1996 in Chicago, Farrakhan said, “”And you do with me as is written, but remember that I have warned you that Allah will punish you. You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You have sucked their blood. You are not real Jews, those of you that are not real Jews. You are the synagogue of Satan, and you have wrapped your tentacles around the U.S. government, and you are deceiving and sending this nation to hell. But I warn you in the name of Allah, you would be wise to leave me alone. But if you choose to crucify me, know that Allah will crucify you.”)

Clearly, Farrakhan’s words and beliefs are anti-Semitic, and he clearly hates white supremacy, but are his words and beliefs any more or less toxic than Trump’s? Is Farrakhan’s dislike of racist white people and Jewish people any worse than Trump’s dislike of Mexicans and Muslims? Is Trump’s virtual silence on issues that affect black people in this nation any less an indication of racial hatred against black people than Farrakhan’s open dislike of Jewish and racist white people?

Aren’t both men Xenophobic? Is Xenophobia coming from a white man less toxic than Xenophobia coming from a black man?

What is up with America’s media? (another friend of mine pointed out that it is not just the white, mainstream media that ignores Farrakhan, but the black media does as well.) Is the fact that Trump is a wealthy white man, a celebrity, who brings ratings up for any media operation the reason he is basically given a free pass? Is the fact that he says what he wants and by and large gets away with it due to the fact he is running for president? Shouldn’t the fact that he is running for president hold him to a higher standard?

It is all very troubling. People have compared Trump to Hitler, and he doesn’t care, or he has said he doesn’t care. This man may very well win the presidency of this nation, and only God knows what will happen to the country should that happen. The support of Trump has shown the widening underbelly of America, an underbelly which is racist at its core. Evangelicals and fellow Conservatives have been largely silent as he has bellowed his racist and sexist rants; it’s only as he has attacked fellow candidate Ted Cruz that there has been a Conservative backlash against him.

But on letting there be free speech and giving vent to those who “speak their minds” when it comes to racism and sexism, there is a clear double standard between whites and blacks. Trump is free to say whatever and Farrakhan is not.

In the land of the free and home of the brave, what is up with that? America’s double standard for white and black people …is showing itself in living color.

A candid observation…

President Obama: Courageous Up to a Point

Whether or not one agrees with the work President Barack Obama has done overall, there is one stand-out quality that he seems to have: the courage it takes to be a leader.

From the beginning of his presidency, Mr. Obama has taken on one Goliath after another. Many thought (and still think) that his push for affordable health care for the vast majority of Americans via the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act was a game-changer, an act of political suicide.

Then there were the bail-outs of the big banks and the auto industry. It is hard to understand why big business says the president has worked against them when these bail-outs really helped…big business, so much so that the president earned the ire of Liberals like Tavis Smiley and Cornel West, as well as others, who said he did not do and has not done enough for the poor.

There was the decision to go after and kill Osama Bin Laden in one of the riskiest moves one might imagine. There was no guarantee that that mission was going to be successful. Had it failed, his career as president would have been over, and even in light of its success, he has drawn criticism for “politicizing” it during this campaign. Still, the courage it took to make that decision and to stand by it is notable.

Now, he has come out in support of gay marriage. It is yet another decision that took courage not  because there is anything wrong with gay marriage but because angry Conservatives, including Tea Party members, are going to use it to skewer him in this upcoming presidential campaign.

The president has worked to fulfill the promises he made during the 2008 campaign, in spite of bitter opposition from the Republicans and an outburst of opposition from the American public as the Affordable Health Care Act became law. He has tackled the economy and done, it seems, the best he could, given the opposition, and has held the line – his line- even as he has nervously watched the unemployment rate hover between horrible and disastrous. Every day, it seems, there has been yet another decision of monumental proportion, and he has taken those decisions on and acted decisively.

The only area in which the president has not shown much courage is in the area of race, racial politics, and racism as an American reality. It seems like, feels like, the president is afraid to talk about it or even mention it, for fear of certain criticism that he is playing the race card. Anything he says and/or does as an African-American is carefully scrutinized, with people ready to accuse him of showing partiality to one race over another, and Mr. Obama, it seems, has caved into the pressure of not bringing that Trojan Horse into the middle of the nation’s woes.

Consider what felt like a fairly innocent and rancor-free statement that the president issued in the height of the attention that was paid to the killing of unarmed teen Trayvon Martin by George Zimmerman. All the president said was that if he had a son, he’d look like Trayvon. Duh. That’s an innocuous statement, and yet people waiting to see even the slightest hint of

Official photographic portrait of US President...
Official photographic portrait of US President Barack Obama (born 4 August 1961; assumed office 20 January 2009) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

favoritism toward African-Americans jumped all over him.

It is a shame that the courageous president cannot be courageous when it comes to race; the political capital he would spend were he to delve into and address matters of race would far exceed that he spent even on getting the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act passed.  And …it’s a shame, because African-Americans are still the lowest on the American totem pole in areas including education, health care, poverty and unemployment. Surely, there is much to do and much to say.

Ironically, white presidents could address issues of race without spending as much political capital as Mr. Obama would. President Eisenhower showed courage when he ordered that segregation in public places had to end, and President Harry Truman likewise showed courage when he ordered that the United States military had to be integrated.

Mr. Obama could never get away with making a decision that would even appear to help black, brown or poor people too much. He would be seen as biased.

So it’s sad that this president, who has shown such chutzpah in all these other areas, has been loth to step into the swirling waters of institutional and structural racism.

It’s too bad, because he has shown that he is tougher than nails…and it is significant that not even this man of courage, who knows racism first hand, cannot brave this Goliath.

A candid observation …