Racism, in its many varieties, has been part and parcel of the human condition since the dawn of time. One of those varieties is black racism, which, as it currently exists in the United States, is rooted in the notion that African Americans are justified in hating (or even harming) white people as a form of reprisal for the latter's historical, and continuing, transgressions against blacks. By the left's reckoning, however, this hatred does not merit classification as racism; rather, even blacks who express the most vicious racial hatred imaginable – whether in word or deed – are viewed not as racists but as agents of retributive justice against their white tormenters.
Among the notable leftists who share the perspective that blacks cannot be racists are the Reverend Joseph Lowery, film director Spike Lee, author Joel Kovel, lecturer/activist Paula Rothenberg, rap singer Sister Souljah, the “anti-racist essayist” Tim Wise, and scholar Coramae Richey Mann. Mann, for her part, contends that because blacks “lack institutional power,” it is “definitionally impossible for [them] to be identified as racist.”
Sociologist and economist Thomas Sowell addresses this notion that racism is an exclusively white trait:
“A more tendentious definition of racism ... emerged in the late twentieth century to exempt racial minorities themselves from the charge. Racism was now said to require power, which minorities do not have, so that even the most anti-white, anti-Jewish, or anti-Asian sentiments ... were automatically exempt from the charge of racism. No such priviso that power was required for racism ever existed before. That this new and self-serving escape hatch remained largely unchallenged has been one index of the level of moral intimidation surrounding racial issues.... In the ordinary sense of the word, minorities of all colors have shown themselves capable of as vicious racism is anybody else, whether in or out of power. The hostility, boycotts, or violence of African – ancestry people against people from India has been common from Kenya to South Africa, as well as in Jamaica and Guiana. Such behavior differs in no essential way from the behavior labeled 'racism' when it is the African-ancestry population being abused by people of European ancestry.”
If one were to accept the notion that racism cannot exist without “power” to oppress, one would also need to believe that a virtually impotent organization like the Ku Klux Klan is not racist – clearly an untenable position. Held in contempt by most white Americans, the Klan today is virtually defunct. Close to bankruptcy, this group which once boasted millions of members and wielded significant political power, now has no established alliances with mainstream white leaders or organizations, and has no more than 4,000 members nationwide. No Klansmen can be found among newspaper editors, legislators, district judges, or the directors of major corporations. And contemporary Klan leaders are capable of attracting only a handful of white racists to their meetings.
A prominent exponent of black racism in recent decades has been Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan, who has a long, well-documented history of referring to whites and Jews as "devils," "bloodsuckers," “vicious beasts,” and “the skunks of the planet.”
Farrakhan protege Malik Zulu Shabazz, leader of the New Black Panther Party, commonly refers to blacks as "God's chosen people" and shouts “Black power!” during his speeches. Even as he denounces what he perceives to be the scourge of white supremacy, Shabazz embraces his own philosophy of racial superiority -- essentially a mirror image of the worldview he ascribes to the legions of racist whites purportedly dotting the American landscape. Said Shabazz on one occasion: “Mendel, the German scientist teaches us that dark genes are dominant and light genes are recessive. Black Power!" At an April 2002 protest in Washington, DC, Shabazz thundered: "Kill every goddamn Zionist in Israel! Goddamn little babies, goddamn old ladies! Blow up Zionist supermarkets!"
Another high-profile black racist is civil-rights activist Al Sharpton, who, in the late 1980s, knowingly abetted a 15-year-old black girl in falsely charging that a mysterious gang of white racists had abducted and gang-raped her. A few years after that, Sharpton helped foment some of the ugliest anti-Semitic riots in living memory when he falsely depicted a Brooklyn, New York car accident (in which a 7-year-old black child had been killed) as a racially tinged homicide perpetrated by a Hasidic Jew. In 1995 Sharpton orchestrated a grotesque (and ultimately deadly) boycott against a Jewish-owned clothing shop in Harlem, New York, where a throng of black picketers — under the watchful, approving eye of Sharpton – shrieked that a cabal of “greedy Jew bastards” and white “crackers” had been mistreating them. And Sharpton once lavished an audience of students and professors at New Jersey's Kean College with references to white "crackers" and "Greek homos" who, from a historical perspective, were still “in the caves [of Europe] while we [black Africans] was building empires” and developing “philosophy and astrology and mathematics.”
Charles Barron is a black nationalist and Democratic councilman from Brooklyn, New York. A onetime member of the Black Panther Party, he makes no secret of his contempt for white people. In August 2002, while speaking before a crowd at the Millions for Reparations March in Washington, DC, Barron made the case for a Democrat-sponsored bill mandating reparations for black slavery in the following terms: "I want to go up to the closest white person and say: 'You can't understand this, it's a black thing' and then slap him, just for my mental health.”
The black poet and professor Amiri Baraka asserts that blacks are justified in robbing or even killing whites, because the latter "already stole" everything from the former. "[The white man] owes you anything you want," writes Baraka, "even his life. All the stores will open if you say the magic words. The magic words are: Up against the wall mother f---er this is a stick up! … Let's get together and kill him my man." In another poem, Baraka writes: "Rape the white girls. Rape their fathers. Cut the mothers' throats." Asserting that blacks and whites cannot possibly coexist in peace, Baraka once said, "We [blacks] must eliminate the white man before we can draw a free breath on this planet." When a white woman asked Baraka what whites could do to help the black cause, he replied, "You can help by dying. You are a cancer. You can help the world's people with your death."
In addition to its contempt for white people, another facet of black racism is its intolerance of opposing viewpoints. Black leftists routinely excoriate black conservatives as “race traitors,” “house slaves,” “Oreos,” “Uncle Toms,” and worse.
A case can also be made for the suggestion that black racism is manifest in the high black-on-white crime rates that currently exist in the United States. Each year, nearly 770,000 violent interracial crimes involving blacks and whites occur nationwide. In at least 85 percent of those cases, according to U.S. Justice Department figures, the perpetrators are black and the victims are white. Statistically, the “average” black is 39 times more likely to commit a violent crime against a white than vice versa, and 136 times more likely to rob a white person than vice versa. In his book The End of Racism, Dinesh D’Souza writes that in one particular year approximately 100 black women were raped by white men in the United States; the corresponding number of white women raped by black men was over 20,000.
Black racism remains a dynamic phenomenon in the United States because African Americans have been told, ad nauseam – by leftists in the civil-rights establishment, in the media, in the churches, in academia, and in the political world – to reflexively blame white society for their every problem; to view themselves as the oppressed and powerless victims of white “society.” Having listened for so long to these incessant depictions of the United States as a land of racial inequity, many black Americans have become angry, embittered racists themselves. As black columnist Michael Meyers once put it, they have zealously “transform[ed] themselves into the apostles of their own delusions.”