Few can argue that racism in Philadelphia has been extinguished. It exists in government, in the form of government contracts reserved for minorities. It exists in the hearts of many people in many neighborhoods. It exists in the subconscious of people. It was part and parcel of a few mayors — Frank “Vote White” Rizzo and John “The brothers and sisters are running the city” Street.
All that stuff, however, is in the past or beneath the surface, where it belongs. And that’s what makes a certain event this past weekend one of the lowest points in race relations Philadelphia has ever seen — and it’s seen plenty of low points.
Louis Farrakhan, a “minister” and “leader” of the Nation of Islam, on Sunday filled the Pennsylvania Convention Center with his typical hate-filled garbage in which he showed his utter disdain for America, a united nation, for Jews and for all white people.
His speech was supposed to mark the 16th anniversary of Washington, D.C.’s Million Man March, but the name of the game in Center City on Sunday was bigotry and separatism, Farrakhan style.
“The Zionists of America have locked down the government of America,” said the charismatic orator, who renewed his call for blacks to unite by buying land and building their own banks, businesses and schools. He even said the dollar bill has “the enemy’s face on it.”
Even Farrakhan’s fellow racist, former Washington mayor and crack-cocaine user Marion Barry, got into the act at the Convention Center, saying, “When you get power, use it for our people.”
The crowd ate it all up, and that is pathetic. Clearly, racists come in all colors.
America will be in a better place when the 78-year-old Farrakhan meets his maker. ••
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