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The other day, I was intrigued by the words of Min. Louis Farrakhan, as he gave a public address regarding President Obama‘s announced support for gay marriage.  I love hearing what Minister Farrakhan has to say, and although I don’t agree with every word, I’m sure he doesn’t expect me to agree with everything he says either.  Instead, Farrakhan speaks the truth from his perspective, and he delivers it in a way that no one else can.

I was happy that Farrakhan threw his hat in the ring on the gay marriage conversation.  Here are the reasons why:

1) Farrakhan says the things that other are afraid to say:  For hundreds of years, black people have become well-conditioned to say things in a way as to keep our oppressors most comfortable.  Louis Farrakhan wasn’t trying to maintain a good relationship with the White House, for he doesn’t need approval from the White House in order to speak his mind.  He wasn’t trying to lobby for a job at MSNBC, since he knows how to make his own money.

Farrakhan wasn’t speaking to expand his platform to a liberal audience or trying to make sure that Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, Melissa Harris-Perry or some other liberal commentator is pleased with him.  Instead, Farrakhan laid his own gauntlet of truth in the middle of a very serious conversation, staking an independent claim to another point of view that can be added to the black national dialogue.  That is difficult to do when someone is threatening to yank you off the stage for being an impolite negro.

2) Farrakhan has a point of view that is respected by millions of black Americans:  Personally, gay marriage doesn’t bother me all that much, since a gay person has never asked for my hand in marriage.  But for millions of African Americans, the issue is problematic, and unfortunately, we live in a nation where religious differences are not always respected.  By speaking on the matter in a bold and forthright way, Minister Farrakhan is repeating millions of kitchen table conversations happening all across black America.

Far too often, the interests of black folks are hijacked by a liberal agenda, as our Democratic brothers and sisters end up treating us like Neanderthals who need to be taught how to think.  As a case-in-point, notice how Democratic pressure pushed the NAACP to defy the wishes of a large percentage of its membership in order to openly back the president.  The question I’d like to ask is whether or not the Democrats would be equally willing to defy millions of its members to support an African American issue.  I think we know the answer to that question.

3) He is not controlled or owned by anyone (at least not anyone in the liberal establishment):  Minister Farrakhan doesn’t get pressure from the White House when he says something that doesn’t please King Obama.  He is able to speak to the issues that matter to black folks without making sure that they fit snug within the acceptable talking points of the liberal agenda.  He runs an organization, The Nation of Islam, which has been able to create its own opportunities, and never fell for the disrespectful lie called “integration” as the key to its own liberation.

A lack of self-sufficiency is why, to this day, African Americans have the highest unemployment rates in the nation and we remain perpetually frustrated that we’re not getting promoted on our jobs as quickly as Bob Smith down the hall (Malcolm X warned us about this over 50 years ago).   The same liberals who push the black church on gay marriage are the ones who express little concern that black unemployment is nearly double that of whites or that black families have been destroyed due to mass incarceration and blatant sentencing disparities. Farrakhan doesn’t have to decide if he is going to be the house negro or the field negro, who must position himself within someone else’s institutions.  By creating institutions of his own, Farrakhan has followed the tradition of the runaway slave.

4) Barack Obama is NOT the first gay president:  When Newsweek proclaimed President Obama to be the first gay president, every Obama-loving, church-going black woman in the country shuttered at the fact that the most powerful black man in history had been emasculated right before her very eyes.  It would have been no more painful to hear that Barack had dumped Michelle for a white woman.  There’s nothing wrong with being gay, but there is something wrong with involuntarily “turning out” one of the most respected black men in history.   Farrakhan is one of the few black public figures willing to state the obvious, even in the face of liberal disdain.

Louis Farrakhan is a complex soul, but you can never call him weak or stupid.  Even black people who don’t agree with him typically have some kind of respect for him.  Whether you agree with Farrakhan’s position on gay marriage or not, the truth is that his opinion is valid, it should be heard and it’s the perspective of one of the few free black men in America.  Most importantly, Farrakhan didn’t need the liberal media machine’s permission to share his point of view.   That’s why I’m glad he spoke up.

Dr. Boyce Watkins is a Professor at Syracuse University and founder of the Your Black World Coalition. To have Dr. Boyce commentary delivered to your email, please click here.

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