Seeming to use the stage in Founders Auditorium as a pulpit to spew racist nonsense, Tony Muhammad, the not so poignant representative of the Nation of Islam, showed the University of La Verne how the pointless rambling of a man with a vendetta can give a bad name to just about anyone.
Maybe it is the fact that I am not black that is preventing me from understanding why white people and Jews in America were singled out and individually slandered by Muhammad, who used the age-old defense of slavery in America as justification for his outrageous putdowns of other races, the English language and the United States.
But in all actuality, being in the audience that day made me even prouder to be white, prouder to not take to heart the rage and ignorance of Muhammad’s absurdity. Prouder that, even if there has been great wrong-doing in the United States throughout its history, this country has been able to rise up and accept all people. No one race today is responsible for the problems that existed since the times of slavery, especially because present day America is made up of so many different races, cultures and combinations thereof.
The irony of Muhammad’s speech last Thursday, is that not even the scattered handful of ULV students and faculty present at the lecture looked dully roused by anything he was saying. Aside from the occasional lull of snickering in the audience when Muhammad said such things as, “The SAT test was made to make black people feel stupid,” and “Ask a white person what a beamer is and he’ll tell you, (mimicking) ‘A beamer is a little ray of light…,’” the audience looked either mildly irritated or genuinely bored.
The frisking process was perhaps more invigorating than the speech itself. Students were led into the lobby of the restroom before the speech by one of what seemed like a hundred Nation of Islam members, methodically patted down and then grilled with questions as the contents of their bags and pockets were emptied out and the objects that could be used as potential weapons were confiscated.
One ULV student had her cigarettes taken from her by a Nation of Islam member who said it was only for her protection. She was then asked if she had any marijuana hidden in her bag.
Perhaps the reason for this security may be because shootings have occurred at these speeches in the past because they are so far off in left field from truth and accuracy, and usually generated by hate. But to have as much security as was present at the speech, including each door that permits access to Founders Auditorium being guarded by one or two men and the stage itself crowded with at least five other people, not counting Muhammad, is uncalled for.
Of course, the Nation of Islam is known for its bouts with controversy and strong stances to support African Americans, but the only thing the speech made known to the listening audience is that Muhammad is perhaps the biggest racist ever to grace ULV with his presence. Stating that Jesus was black, democracy is “the devil’s rule” and ULV is “institutionalized terrorism,” Muhammad’s eccentricity caused many listeners to wonder why he is even in America in the first place, especially if America is so “rotten to the core?”
Did he come just to spread hate among those who are educated, or to spread ignorance among those who are not educated enough to know their own truth? His intent certainly was not to spread peace and harmony among a campus that, even in its small size, has enough racial tension as it is.
Some believe that the only reason Muhammad was here at all was to put down, chastise and ridicule white people, and plant the seed of resentment and malevolence among African Americans. Luckily, it takes more than harsh words and a rehashing of the past to make a relevant point today.