October 24, 2020

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Sorry, @WomensMarch. You don’t get the problem with Farrakhan. Let me explain.


The Women’s March posted on Facebook:

Women’s March wouldn’t exist without the leadership of women of color, and we stand with Linda Sarsour and Tamika Mallory. Women’s March leaders reject anti-Semitism in all its forms.

We recognize the danger of hate rhetoric by public figures. We want to say emphatically that we do not support or endorse statements made by Minister Louis Farrakhan about women, Jewish and LGBTQ communities.

It’s important to remember that many on the right are thrilled to use any tool they can find to divide and undermine our movement — one that inspired the #WomensWave we saw this week in the midterm elections.

Our women of color leaders at the Women’s March have risked their safety to build a bold direct action strategy that addresses the real threat against our communities and country – the threat of white nationalism, which is fueled by anti-Black racism and anti-Semitism.

We all know the real cause of violence and oppression of our communities. This is well-documented and inspired by vile rhetoric coming from the Trump administration and from members of the Republican Party.

Let’s compare this statement with the Women’s March statement about Harvey Weinstein:

This is an important day in terms of visibility for all women whose lives have been devastated because of the actions of Harvey Weinstein. We seek justice for women and all people who have been harassed and abused in the workplace. No person should be violated at work, or anywhere else. Ever. Toxic masculinity and misogyny can no longer be ignored or tolerated at the workplace or any other place in society. 

If they are really against antisemitism as they claim to be, then they should be treating Farrakhan the same way they treat Harvey Weinstein.

Compare their statements about Harvey Weinstein and Louis Farrkhan.

They aren’t saying that they “don’t support or endorse” Weinstein’s apparent actions. They are saying that misogyny cannot be tolerated anywhere in society, period. They do not make any statement close to that about antisemitism.

Weinstein is persona non grata among feminists. For good reason. But Farrakhan is free to do what he wants, and the Women’s March leaders are free to admire him, and they will get support from their movement.

Oh, you might argue, Farrakhan also does good things and that counteracts his hate? Well, here is a list of good liberal causes that Harvey Weinstein publicly supported:

American Foundation for AIDS Research
Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation
Exploring The Arts
LeBron James Family Foundation
Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation
Robin Hood
Would anyone even pretend that this makes up for his misogyny?
Even worse in their statement about Farrakhan is that the statement isn’t about Farrakhan. The Women’s March waters it down by saying that those who think that their leaders should dissociate from a rabid Jew-hater are the evil ones – “many on the right” who are “thrilled” to use Farrakhan to divide and undermine their movement.
The statement is not primarily against Farrakhan but against those who are disgusted by Farrakhan’s antisemitism.
Does that include Alyssa Milano?
The statement isn’t a full throated condemnation of Farrakhan’s hate. It is an excuse to go after the “right” – the real evil people in their minds. 
If the Women’s March truly cared about antisemitism then Farrakhan would be treated with as much disgust at Weinstein.  But it doesn’t care about antisemitism, it only cares about right-wing antisemitism. One chapter issued a statement about Kristallnacht as if to make up for criticism of its stance on Farrakhan, but no….it takes no bravery to say that you find Nazis to be contemptible. It takes real bravery to go after the people you claim are your natural allies against oppression – people of color and Muslims, in the case of the Women’s March – when they are shown to have viewpoints equally as repugnant.
When they become truly color blind and recognize that all hate is equally unacceptable, when they apologize for mainstreaming Farrakhan’s hate while issuing lukewarm denunciations of specific topics they disagree with him on, then they might be able to claim that they are against all forms of racism, sexism and discrimination. 
As it is, their statement blaming the “right” for trying to divide them indicates that they are just a political organization, not a human rights organization. This statement is a way to cover for their leaders, not a fearless condemnation of all forms of bigotry.
The Women’s March leaders are not brave at all.  They are very afraid of upsetting people of color and Muslims. They are only “brave” when it comes to confronting white males and Jews. 

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