Pigford Press Conference: New Black Panthers Bring Racism, Antisemitism, and Homophobia to the Mainstream Media's Clubhouse


On Friday, September 23, 2011, at the National Press Club in Washington, DC, a panel of activists held a press conference on the $2.7 billion Pigford settlement between the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and black farmers claiming past discrimination.

What ensued was a grotesque display of racism, antisemitism, and homophobia. And not a single member of the mainstream media was on hand to report what happened.

The event was opened by Malik Zulu Shabazz, Chairman of the New Black Panther Party, a militant hate group that supported Barack Obama in the 2008 election and sent armed thugs to intimidate voters at several polling places in 2008 and 2010. (On Monday, Andrew Breitbart revealed that Obama and other Democrats shared a podium with Shabazz and the New Black Panthers at a march in Selma, AL in March 2007.)

Shabazz would go on to express frustration that President Obama had not delivered as expected in the face of opposition. While making the otherwise valid point that black people should be able to criticize a black president, he complained that Obama had abandoned blacks for gays:

While Troy Davis was being executed, President Obama was focused on promoting the gay rights agenda as he prepares for an election.

Gary Grant, the President of the Black Farmers and Agriculturalists Association, said that Obama had failed to deliver on his promises to black farmers because he and his family were surrounded by white people:

I have mixed emotions about President Obama, you know. I think Dr. Ridgely [Muhammad, Minister of Agriculture of the Nation of Islam, seated on Grant’s right] probably has defined it best. He said: “Now, look. The man is black. His wife is black. His children are black. They are being–heʼs being guarded by white folk. Sheʼs being guarded by white folk. The children are being guarded by whitefolk. And then he went out and bought a black dog,” you know.

Muhammad provided an even more colorful and bizarre description of the white racism at work–to the delight of his fellow panelists, who laughed and encouraged him:

What we have got to understand is that we are at war. These people are about completely destroying us. Let me give you my real radical stuff right quick, OK? Excuse me. [Laughter, encouragement: “Let ʻem have it.”] White people–white people are recessive. White people define themselves as pure white. Therefore, any drop of anybody elseʼs blood in them destroys them. So the only way they can stay white is to destroy everything else, or at least push you away from them so you cannot get to them. So the power of the black sperm is so powerful that they gonna always control you or kill you if they wanna stay white in their own mind. What makes a white folk, person the devil is not his skin color, but his desire to keep his skin color white, which the only way he can do it is to destroy everything black, because black is the dominant, and they are recessive. So everything they do–they look at these figures, they know by 2046 they are going to be the minority. So what you think they gonna do? They gonna leave this country for us to take over and run it? No–they’re selling off every piece of it. They’re selling off bridges. They’re selling off highways. They’re selling off government buildings. They’ll sell this whole country off to foreigners…so when we take over thereʼs nothing we’re gonna have control over except that we are going to have to tax the people to pay the money back to the international bankers. So we have to take our struggle beyond the issue of just the black farmers….This is a Third World country.

Faya Rose Toure (formerly Rose Sanders), class counsel in Pigford, added:

The Jews would not tolerate people putting Jewish farmers out of business without an outcry.

Toure’s reference to Jews evoked an antisemitic comment from the audience by Imam Akbar, Minister of Justice for the New Black Panther Party, who claimed that Jews had opposed the new memorial for Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. because they wanted the Holocaust museum to be more prominent. He added:

Some of them are in the business, and as you see from the killing of Troy Davis, of killing Muslims and killing blacks, and we want to put them out of business as a network and an organization.

A few minutes later, Muhammad weighed in again, blaming Jews for the financial crisis:

One more thing about the preachers…Wells Fargo used the black preachers to convince black people to go to subprime loans….Then they foreclosed on them and they used that for the excuse for the economic crisis, when in fact the Jews set that up from the very get-go, because they were planning to take the country down anyway. They want to set us up–black folk–as the reason why the country failed.

Not once in the entire press conference–which lasted over two hours–did any of the panelists or audience members raise a single objection to any of the remarks above.

And not one journalist has reported on the proceedings, even though they involve parties to a $2.7 billion settlement with the federal government, even though the Pigford press conference was staged inside the mainstream media’s own private clubhouse.


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