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Patriarchy

On Louis Farrakhan and Rape

For the last 40 years the Nation of Islam has been under the leadership of The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan. Over the course of four decades, the Black community has progressed in ideologies, acceptance of the LGBTQ community, and addressing sexual violence. However on Tuesday, May 24th, 2016 during an interview with the Breakfast Club, Minister Farrakhan displayed that he’s much further behind on such issues, and that his views don’t reflect the masses of Black people as they once did.

Live on air, Breakfast Club co-host Angela Yee asked Minister Farrakhan his thoughts on how Black women have began to challenge societal stereotypes with “slut walks” and dressing care-free. Minister Farrakhan responded by saying that “Women are sacred vessels,” before proceeding to suggest that women should be covered in the presence of men to avoid “provoking, or inviting the rapist.” Even after being challenged several times during the course of the interview by Charlamagne and Angela, Minister Farrakhan continued to suggest that the way to stop sexual predators is not by telling men not to rape, but to tell young women to cover up because a man is supposed to be sexually attracted to you.

Even after being challenged several times during the course of the interview by Charlamagne and Angela, Minister Farrakhan continued to suggest that the way to stop sexual predators is not by telling men not to rape, but to tell young women to cover up because a man is supposed to be sexually attracted to you.

These types of comments are not foreign to Minister Farrakhan, but in a time where conversations about sexual violence have started to take place, we should start to hold the minister accountable for his victim-blaming statements. For a while last year, it seemed as though Minister Farrakhan seemed to be growing in his beliefs. Evidently that wasn’t the case.

Last October, young people had the opportunity to attend the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March. The original Million Man March was a rally call asking for a million Black men to come to Washington D.C. and stand together. However, this time Minister Farrakhan opened up the rally to include people from all backgrounds in the Black community. The Nation of Islam even made a substantial effort to organize with individuals from the Black Lives Matter Movement (myself included), which has been in support of women’s rights, and the LGBTQ community.

During his speech, Minister Farrakhan in a sense reneged on the alliance the Nation of Islam had built with millennial activists, with his homophobic and misogynistic rhetoric. While many of the individuals deemed “leaders” of the B.L.M. movement in the media failed to address or confront such a historic organization as the Nation of Islam, Minister Farrakhan’s latter comments have proven to be too dangerous to just ignore.

No woman wakes up and gets dressed with the intent of being raped, nor should we began to teach young girls to be ashamed of their natural bodily growth. Wearing a short dress is not an invitation to be raped, nor is it an excuse for why an act of sexual violence should occur.

No woman wakes up and gets dressed with the intent of being raped, nor should we began to teach young girls to be ashamed of their natural bodily growth. Wearing a short dress is not an invitation to be raped, nor is it an excuse for why an act of sexual violence should occur.

Instead of victim-blaming, and excusing the actions of perverted men we should focus on teaching men inside of our communities that a woman’s body belongs to her. To put it bluntly, we should be just as eager to tell men “control your dick” as we are to control a woman’s body.

What the Minister said in his interview with the Breakfast Club might’ve been socially acceptable 40 years ago, but that still doesn’t justify the violence his comments promote. More importantly, the Minister’s unwillingness to change his beliefs are precisely why many people left last years Justice or Else event disheartened and disgusted. We live in a time where Black women have stepped from the shadows of men, and began to display the carefreeness and determination for liberation, that we all should value.

Watching Tuesday’s interview saddened me in more ways than what I have already stated. It’s also devastating for us to watch as a leader’s unwillingness to adapt to what young Black people believe, as it ultimately means we are watching the crumbling of one of the last great Black Organization’s left. Especially one that teaches “No nation can rise higher than its women,” all while undermining beauty and independence of Black women, and celebrating her predators.

By Kwame Rose

Kwame Rose is a social activist, hip-hop artist, blogger, and speaker. He is best known for having boldly held mainstream media, particularly Geraldo Rivera of Fox News, accountable for its inaccurate representation of protesters during the Baltimore uprising. At just 21 years old, Kwame has emerged as a leader, community organizer, and motivator for youth advocacy.