House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY), who has admitted a “vague recollection” of the controversy surrounding his antisemitic uncle, defended his uncle and called black conservatives “token” and “opportunists” in his college newspaper.
Jeffries’s comments during his college years resurfaced in a bombshell CNN story pinpointing Jeffries using race politics during his time at Binghamton University in upstate New York.
However, an unearthed school paper and materials from a 30-year-old college campus reviewed by CNN reportedly undermine the House Democrat leader’s past statements on his uncle.
CNN reported Jeffries, during his time at Binghamton University and as a member of the executive board for the Black Student Union, had invited his uncle to speak on campus after he made inflammatory comments in the early 1990s, such as “rich Jews” being in the African slave trade and about Jewish executives in the film industry.
Additionally, CNN found a previously unreported college editorial where he defended his uncle and Nation of Islam Leader Louis Farrakhan. Explaining that the two were unfairly targeted by “white media” for challenging “the longstanding distortion of history,” Jeffries wrote in February 1992:
Do you think that a ruling elite would promote individuals who would seek to dismantle their vice like grip on power? Of course not. … Dr. Leonard Jeffries and Minister Louis Farrakhan have come under intense fire. Where do you think their interests lie? Dr. Jeffries has challenged the existing white supremist educational system and the long standing distortion of history. His reward has been a media lynching complete with character assassinations and inflammatory erroneous accusations.
Jeffries’ spokesperson Christiana Stephenson told CNN on Wednesday that “Leader Jeffries has consistently been clear that he does not share the controversial views espoused by his uncle over thirty years ago,” adding that his record in office has been “bringing communities together.”
Furthermore, the congressman’s editorial went on to criticize the “black conservatives” as a “phenomenon,” referring to them as “token Blacks” and “right-wing opportunists” that have bought into “the idea of the American dream,” in addition to comparing them to “house negroes” during American slavery. Jeffries wrote:
During the period of African enslavement, our ancestors were given the duality of the Field Negro and the House Negro. The Field Negro labored from dawn ‘till dusk, had nothing but contempt for his white master, and most importantly, the majority of Black slaves, who were Field Negroes. In contemporary terms, what we would refer to as ‘the masses.’ The House Negroes didn’t labor in the field, they were domestic servants. The House Negro was dressed up and was led to believe that he or she was better than those in the field. Most importantly, the House Negro sought to emulate the white master. This emulation was not designed with the interests of the masses at heart. Rather, the motivating force was personal gain.
Perhaps this is the problem with the Black conservative politician of today. Their political agenda is not designed to contribute to the upliftment of their people. These right-wing opportunists espouse the political ideology of the power structure and, in return, they are elevated to positions historically reserved for whites.
“The House Negro of the slavery era and the Black conservative of today are both opportunists interested in securing some measure of happiness for themselves within the existing social order,” Jeffries added. “In both cases, the social order has Blacks occupying the lowest societal echelon.”
Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Thursday ripped Democrat election denier Rep. Hakeem Jeffries (D-NY) for calling former President Donald Trump a “fake president” who won an “illegitimate” election. https://t.co/AdQ69APNSM
— Breitbart News (@BreitbartNews) December 1, 2022
National Republican Congressional Committee press secretary Will Reinert, looking to define Jeffries negatively, stated that Axios that the minority leader “not only provided a platform for his uncle’s antisemitic remarks, he published racist remarks of his own.”
“Jeffries still refuses to apologize for or recognize the gravity of his indefensible words, and that makes this matter even more concerning,” Reinert added.