I think Jim Naureckas’ Erick Erickson/David Duke equation (FAIR Blog, 7/14/10) is overdrawn. Erickson was playing off remarks by King Samir Shabazz, the New Black Panther Party (NBPP) member who stood in front of the largely African-American polling place in Philadelphia with a night stick in his hand. Shabazz is on record in another context saying that black men should kill white people, including children: “You want freedom, you’re going to have to kill some crackers. You’re going to have to kill their babies.” So Erickson is not, as Jim says, “hallucinating” this kind of language–just exploiting it.
Erickson and the rest of the right-wing media establishment are trying to create a major scare by painting the NBPP as a black version of the Ku Klux Klan. But while there are certain rhetorical similarities, and these should not be lightly dismissed, the Klan actually killed black children. And while the NBPP is notorious for its hateful rhetoric–which deserves condemnation, to the extent that this marginal group warrants notice at all–there’s scant evidence that its race-baiting language has ever been acted upon. The group seems to exist only to attract attention through its vile, racist rants.
So Erickson’s suggestion that this creepy, powerless group is actually likely to start “killing our kids”–and that the Obama administration is abetting this slaughter of white children–is simply politics. By linking Obama to violent black rhetoric, Erickson and his talk radio and Fox News allies are trying to turn this weak episode into a summer Swift Boat for the November elections. In other words, Erickson and his colleagues are engaging in racial rabble-rousing, much like the NBPP–but with a much more prominent platform and to much greater effect.
David Duke would not disapprove.