When a Ukrainian immigrant murdered Ennis Cosby, the son of Bill
and Camille Cosby, Ms. Cosby blamed America. She wrote, "I believe America
taught our son's killer to hate African-Americans." Reeling from the pain of
her loss, Cosby's lashing-out deserves understanding and empathy, but this
does not make what she wrote any less wrong. The shooter killed Ennis.
That's why prosecutors charged him, convicted him and threw him in jail.
Cosby's piece suggests that white racism toward blacks thwarts
black American progress. Nonsense. Polls show white acceptance of blacks at
an all-time high. In 1958, for example, only 35 percent of Americans would
vote for a black person for president. As of 1997, the figure rose to 93
So let's apply the Cosby blame game to the apparent Beltway
sniper lead triggerman -- John Allen Muhammad. What about John Allen
Muhammad's apparent mindset of anti-Americanism and religious intolerance?
Muhammad, 41, fit the sniper profile of a loser. Two failed marriages, child
custody battles, one wife obtained a permanent protective order against him,
a possible brief imprisonment for a traffic violation, two court-martials
and possibly -- though unconfirmed -- a dishonorable discharge from the
military as well as more than one failed business.
But add this to the mix: He belonged to Louis Farrakhan's Nation
of Islam, an angry, virulent strain of Islam. According to The Seattle
Times, Muhammad openly expressed sympathy for the terrorists who committed
the Sept. 11 atrocities. He passed out pro-Islamic literature and spoke
openly about his desire to commit violent acts in and against America.
The Nation of Islam's Farrakhan called Judaism a "gutter
religion," referred to Adolf Hitler as a great man, and in a book called,
"The Secret Relationship of Blacks and Jews," Farrakhan exaggerates the role
of Jews in slavery, while minimizing the substantial role of Arab slavers.
Farrakhan met with Libya's Moammar Gadhafi, Iraq's Saddam Hussein and Iran's
Mohammad Khatami; nations on America's official list of states that sponsor
terrorism. Farrakhan condemned Los Angeles-area Korean storeowners as
When Malcolm X defected from the Nation of Islam, Farrakhan
wrote, "The die is set and Malcolm shall not escape . . . Such a man is
worthy of death." Over 30 years later, Farrakhan apologized to Malcolm X's
daughter, admitting that his words "helped create the atmosphere" that led
to Malcolm's assassination. But decades later, Farrakhan issued another
Fatwa-like condemnation of black Washington Post reporter Milton Coleman,
who reported Rev. Jesse Jackson's use of "Hymie" and "Hymie Town." About
Coleman, Farrakhan said, "We're going to make an example of Milton Coleman.
. . . I'm going to try to get every church in Washington, D.C., to put him
out . . . whenever he hits the door tell him he's not wanted. If he brings
his wife she can come in if she leaves him. But if she won't leave him, then
you can go to hell with your husband. If he is a traitor and you love to
sleep in the bed with a traitor of your people then the same punishment
that's due that no-good filthy traitor you'll get it yourself as his wife.
One day soon we will punish you with death."
Hargeet Singh, a friend of Muhammad's, said, "In his mind, even
black people were no good if they stood with whites or Christians."
Authorities now connect Muhammad with the shooting that took place at the
only synagogue in Tacoma, Wash.
Did Muhammad convert to Islam out of a sincere, spiritual
conversion and awakening? Or, did he convert, as some do, to say, "Screw
you," to America, the West and to non-Muslims, thus providing a scapegoat
for his failed life?
According to some estimates, blacks comprise nearly half of
America's estimated 5 million to 8 million Muslims (although others put the
figure much lower). Of that number, according to Sulayman Nyang, with the
African Studies department at Howard University, nearly one of 10 Muslims
converted in prison. Ziauddin Sardar, described by Time magazine as a
"British scholar of Islam," says, "Islam is a sort of natural religion for
underdogs." Seized al Qaeda documents suggest American prisons as a source
for recruitment of potential terrorists. For most prison inmates, Islam
provides structure, a motive, clean life and spiritual salvation. But for
some, it serves as a ticket to explain away a failed life, while providing a
justification for hatred of non-Muslims, of America, and of Western culture
Black "blame America" anger does a number on the black psyche. A
Los Angeles Times poll asked blacks earning $50,000 or more a year if
everyone has the power to succeed. They answered more pessimistically than
did lower-income whites!
Aristotle once said, "Anyone can become angry -- that is easy.
But to be angry with the right person, to the right degree, at the right
time, for the right purpose, and in the right way -- that is not easy."