Dear Women’s March Leaders, Let's Talk About Farrakhan

Louis Farrakhan

Dear Women’s March Leaders,

Remember last month when The New York Times announced it had hired Quinn Norton to be an op-ed writer? Then the internet dug up all of her old tweets where she was fine with casual homophobia and pals with a neo-Nazi, creating such an uproar that the Times fired her literally the same day? I bring that up because apparently you still are in charge of the Women’s March two weeks after your cochair was discovered to be very friendly with Louis Farrakhan, who is a raging anti-Semite and homophobe. He’s also a huge misogynist. Like “get in the kitchen and make me a sandwich, woman” misogynist. That’s not hyperbole; he actually says it’s a woman’s duty to stay home and cook her husband’s meals.

Only her husband, mind you, because like I said, Farrakhan is a raging homophobe, so he’s not down with the same-sex marriage. Oh, since one of you said that you had been going to his speeches for most of your life, you have probably heard the times he said that the Jews in Hollywood are making people gay. Yeah, he actually said that. A few times, actually. Oh, and just recently starting saying Hollywood Jews made me transgender. I’m pretty sure that didn’t happen, because for most of my life Hollywood treated transgender people like freaks and monsters. Anyway, let me get back to my point.

Louis Farrakhan is a bigot, and you have absolutely no excuse not to loudly and vocally condemn everything he says, distance yourself, apologize to not only the Jewish community personally but the LGBTQ community as well, and then resign. I say apologize personally, because none of you have, and it took you nine days to put out a non-apology defense of hanging out with a guy who likes Hitler, using the Women’s March as a shield. Yeah, he’s called Hitler a great man. In that apology the first sentence says in bold type, “Anti-Semitism, misogyny, homophobia, transphobia, racism and white supremacy are and always will be indefensible,” but the document goes on for over five paragraphs trying to defend you guys being homies, and some of you have been for years, apparently. You talk about how building an intersectional movement is difficult and painful? Well, no shit.

It took you guys nine days to say that, and say Farrakhan’s views “are not aligned” with the Women’s March. Again, no shit. Here’s a crazy concept that might upset you, but building an intersectional movement is difficult and painful, right? Here we go: You are not the Women’s March, and you don’t get to use it to shield yourself from criticism. Own your own fuck-ups. The Women’s March is meant to be intersectional, and that means that it’s full of blacks, whites, Latinos, Native Americans, Asians, gays, straights, trans, whatever that person with the beard and sundress identifies as, Muslims, Jews, Christians, athiests, that Hare Krishna over there, physically challenged, able-bodied, and a million different identities. You guys are just the ones who book celebrity guests, fill out permits, and rent the porta-johns. So you do not get to put up a mushmouthed nonapology on the letterhead because we didn’t fuck up, you did.

I recall something about life one of my old sergeant majors told me: “One 'aw, shit' ruins a thousand 'attaboys.'” Now, yeah, you guys did take the Women’s March from a largely white, cis, straight women’s movement to an intersectional one that’s meant to cater to all folks, and you deserve praise for that, but this stuff is your “aw, shit” to that “attagirl.” Lots of Jewish women and allies are kinda upset about this whole blowing off and even sucking up to Farrakhan thing, and frankly, as a trans woman, I’m a bit skeeved by it too. I don’t feel welcome with you guys speaking for the march and defending him, and now I know why a lot of people were upset with me defending those stupid pink hats. You guys talk about how we need to reach out to our communities and build bridges. Well, where’s the pictures of you guys chilling at CPAC? Why aren’t you guys having conversations with racist militia members and fundamentalist Christians?  I don’t recall any dialogues with Richard Spencer or David Duke. You can’t play personal favorites with what bigots you want to defend and excuse and try to dialogue with unless you’re gonna be doing it with all of them. And yes, again, Louis Farrakhan is a racist bigot.

Even Muslim activist/Women's March co-chair Linda Sarsour said so back in November on a panel about anti-Semitism. She straight up called him an anti-Semite. She also blew it off by arguing he’s no threat to Jews and only affects the black community. No, he’s also affecting the Jewish community by attacking them and creating divides between Jews and blacks, and this might come as a bit of a surprise, but there are Jewish POCs. There are also a lot of LGBTQ people of color, and as a member of the LGBTQ community I’m going to speak up for them. Over 80 percent of the trans women killed every year are POC, and LGBTQ POCs are far more likely to be victims of discrimination, violence, suffer extreme poverty, and be homeless. That discrimination is not just coming from white people, either. From everything I have ever been told by black LGBTQ people, and this is just what I have heard and I may be wrong, but they suffer far worse levels of bigotry and hatred within their own communities than white LGBTQ people do inside of theirs. The defense of “what power over Jews does Farrakhan have,” argument is a weak deflection when his homophobia and transphobia is having a real, genuine effect on LGBTQ people of color.

You gotta go. You have claimed victimhood of bullying for defending a bully. You say anti-Semitism, LGBTQ hatred, and misogyny are indefensible but have gone through great pains to defend a person who expresses all three. You have talked about building bridges but only seem to be building them with your preferred bigots. You are not listening to the outrage, you are making excuses, and acting like hypocrites. You can’t demand unity and intersectionality and excuse or defend Farrakhan's behavior. It does not matter how much Farrakhan has done for a community because one aww shit ruins a thousand attaboys, and being a bigot is a pretty big aww shit. Your refusal to condemn Farrakhan and even blow anti-Semitic dogwhistles at you critics has already caused Planned Parenthood to drop its affiliation with the March and soon others will follow. If you want to continue to associate with him and defend him, you don’t get to do it under the letterhead of the Women’s March. If a mere op-ed writer gets fired for her association with a bigot of no fame, then you shouldn’t be speaking for literally millions of women for your association with a man who warrants his own page on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s website of hate horrors.

This is not your movement, and if you refuse to listen to us, blow us off, and even attack us when you play the victim, then you have to go.

AMANDA KERRI is an Oklahoma City-based comedian and regular contributor to The Advocate.Follow her on Twitter @amanda_kerri.

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