By: Nat Hentoff--Alleging a Conspiracy To Use Gangsta Rap for Ethnic Cleansing
(This article appeared in the October 24, 1995 issue of THE VILLAGE VOICE. It is reprinted with the permission of Nat Hentoff.)
Deep in the glittering first issue of John Kennedy Jr.'s George there was a dose of poisonous bigotry. On National Public Radio, Kennedy told us George understands "that culture drives politics and defines it" For centuries, anti-Semitism has proved his point.
In a long, revealing piece in George on the war against gangsta rap, Paul Alexander profiled a number of combatants--including "a liberal black activist," C. DeLores Tucker, who was the general in the powerfully sustained campaign against Time Warner.
DeLores Tucker marched with Martin Luther King, has held public office, and founded the National Political Congress of Black Women. She is widely respected because, among other reasons, she has never abandoned the perennially difficult fight for civil rights.
One of her friends, Dr. Frances Cress Welsing--who practices child and general psychiatry in Washington--has helped shape Delores Tucker's thinking about racism.
Gangsta rap, Welsing told Paul Alexander, is part of a conspiracy to set up black people "as the trash that should be eliminated." So, too, "prior to killing six million people, the Nazis waged a systematic campaign in the media to make the Semites of the Jewish religion look less than human, to make them deplorable to the German people as a whole. The same dynamic is happening now. The issue is setting up black people as the trash that should be exterminated."
Delores Tucker agrees. Paul Alexander wrote that "she sees an ominous force in the culture, put there by nonblacks, that has as its ultimate goal the destruction of the black race in America. . . . 'There is a racial cleansing that's being perpetrated in this country,' she said. 'Whatever was going on in Germany is going on here now.'"
"When Hitler moved on the Jews," Tucker continued, "even some of the Jews said, "They're not fit to live with us," and nobody cared. Today that's what they're doing with this [gangsta rap]."
Alexander asked, who is "they"?
Tucker evaded the question, directing Alexander to Dr Welsing. He reported Welsing's grand theory that with whites angry and shrinking in numbers, there are minority groups who--to keep the frustration and rage of whites away from them--focus on other minorities.
"To the extent," said Dr. Welsing, "that they are involved in the production of these [gangsta rap] records, the Jews, are consciously or subconsciously acting out what happened happened to them [in Germany and building up protection for themselves."
Delores Tucker did not disagree, but would not be as specific as Welsing. She did concur that- like the Jews in Germany who tried to protect themselves by turning on other vulnerable groups- "today that's what they're doing with this."
I get the message.
Paul Alexander is to be commended for including the quotes by Welsing and Tucker. There are journalists who would have left out these accusations against the Jews rather than risk being called racist for embarrassing so prestigious a figure as DeLores Tucker. And George itself was right to print this current version of age-old Jewish conspiracy theories. Bigotry should always be revealed.
Remember the Chicago activist Steve Cokely, who spread the word that Jewish doctors inject the AIDS virus into black babies?
It might have been useful if the editor of George had said something in his magazine about the charge of ethnic cleansing directed by Jews. But John Kennedy Jr. did have the right to remain silent. After all, no editor is obligated to respond to every controversial piece he runs.
However, if someone profiled in George had engaged in vicious homophobia or racism or sexism, I wonder if Kennedy might have made a comment in his Editor's Letter?
In recent years, I've been asked by several college newspaper editors around the country if they should print the notorious Holocaust revisionist ads sent to them by a man on the West Coast who believes that all those Jews weren't destroyed at all. The Holocaust, he maintains, is a myth spread by- who else? - Jews. Rabbis on campus and historians of the Holocaust have furiously urged that the ads not be run by college editors.
My advice was, by all means publish the ad, but make sure that you, the editor, expose the bigotry behind the ad. My favorite line in these matters, I told the student editors, is Justice Louis Brandeis's "Sunlight is the best disinfectant."
The college editors who ran the Holocaust revisionist ads were fiercely attacked on and off campus. One rabbi accused the young woman in charge of the Duke University student newspaper of taking "blood money."
But on campus after campus the anti-Semetic ad was countered in several issues of the student papers by editorials, columnists and historians. Months after the ad ran at Duke, I was talking to a dean and asked what the effect of the furor had been.
"Most of the students here," she said, "had only a foggy notion of the Holocaust. Some had seen a docudrama miniseries on television or had heard briefly about it in other ways. But now most of them know an awful lot because the ad was run and led to so extensive an exploration of the Holocaust on campus."
I hope George continues to run deeply offensive illuminations. I also hope the editor will discuss--or have others discuss--the roots of such infectious conspiracy theories as Jews involved in racial cleansing.
The more open a publication, the more useful it is to spur readers to think for themselves. But a newspaper or magazine should also have its own voice. I don't hear John Kennedy Jr.'s yet.