Posted Oct. 17, 2007 -- Gliding through such diversified topics as global warming, the war in Iraq, the power of hip-hop music and the Michael Vick saga, the Rev. Louis Farrakhan rocked a jam-packed Atlanta Convention Center Tuesday in a rare public appearance to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the Million Man March.
As usual, the main theme of the Nation of Islam leader was responsibility – the responsibility that all people have toward maintaining a peaceful world; the responsibility that African Americans have to give back to their communities; the responsibility that Black men have to strengthen their families; and even the responsibility that humans have to be kind to animals.
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"Politics and the racial environment [are] threatening the human family," said Farrakhan, 74, who has made few public appearances since being diagnosed with prostate cancer in 2000 and said to be in failing health. "But Black males, in particular, are endangered. Our attitudes, our ignorance, our savagery are all lending to a plan — a conspiracy to make the Black man, not endangered, but extinct. ... If God doesn't intervene, we will be extinct."
He said that Black men were created by God to take a stand. "The masses of our people are in terrible condition and are suffering and are becoming extinct; we have to find a better way of addressing the problems of our people," Farrakhan said during his two-hour-plus speech. Oprah Winfrey may be one of the richest women in the world, he said, but 37 million people are living in poverty, one in three of whom is Black.
"Diddy might have his own clothing line and a Manhattan address, but Blacks are moving into prison at four times the rate of Blacks in South Africa during the apartheid era," Farrakhan said. "Tiger Woods' face might be on every billboard, but 340,000 Blacks are homeless in America on any given night."
He said that rapper T.I., who was arrested on federal gun charges shortly before he was to appear at the BET Awards to receive honors for the Best CD of the Year, was jailed mainly because his music is influencing White kids, who buy the lion’s share of rap and hip-hop music.
And about Michael Vick: "I know our brother broke the law. God himself is displeased, because he has given us dominion over his creatures and he doesn't want us to abuse them for sport … but they didn't have to come down on the brother like that. He is young, Black and super rich. And all of those White children were wearing his jersey. White people were losing control of their children to Black sports and entertainment figures, and they can't take it."
There are things much worse than dog-fighting, Farrakhan said. "What is worse?" he asked, "to send a recruiter into Black and Hispanic neighborhoods to offer you money to come into the armed forces to go to Iraq and Afghanistan for political reasons to kill people?"