Sam Hanna Jr.

Editor’s Note: This column by Sam Hanna Jr. was first published the week of Dec. 25, 2017. It is timely today in light qualifying for the Monroe mayor’s race scheduled for Jan. 8-Jan. 10.

Because, you see, white people deserve to die.”

That remark was made by Louis Farrakhan, the exalted leader of the hate group Nation of Islam, a few years ago in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

In an interview with the Philadelphia Inquirer in March of 2000, Farrakhan said, “White people are potential humans — they haven’t evolved yet.”

Farrakhan emerged as a topic of discussion locally in light of his visit to north Louisiana last week, including Monroe, where Mayor Jamie Mayo presented him with a key to the city. It was the second key to the city that Mayo has given to Farrakhan, who is the only individual to have received two keys to Monroe.

Farrakhan graced our presence in the Twin Cities after attending his granddaughter’s graduation at Grambling State University. The tie-in to Monroe entailed city police officers providing an escort from Grambling to Monroe Regional Airport. It was at the airport that Mayo attended some sort of a meet-and-greet with Farrakhan and handed over the key. In typical Farrakhan fashion, he spoke for a spell and delivered his tried but true, hate-filled rhetoric. Mayo was front and center, which however the mayor might possibly attempt to explain it away, was a sure sign the mayor agrees with him.

“Minister, I have a little something that I’d like to present to you,” Mayo said. “We already presented a key and you received it. In the 16 years that I’ve been mayor, no other person has received two keys. ... Thank you so much for gracing our city and our state. Thank you for all that you’ve done throughout your 80-plus years on earth. May God continue to bless you.”

Over the years, Farrakhan, whose Nation of Islam was pegged as a “hate group” by the ultra-liberal Southern Poverty Law Center, hasn’t directed his venom solely toward whites. He hates Jews, too.

“I believe that for the small numbers of Jewish people in the United States, they exercise a tremendous amount of influence on the affairs of government. … Yes, they exercise extraordinary control, and black people will never be free in this country until they are free of that kind of control….,” Farrakhan said in an interview on NBC’s Meet the Press in 1997.

But in Monroe with Mayo close by, Farrakhan directed his remarks at whites.

“The enemy is so clever,” Farrakhan said. “He finds ways to kill that does not attract attention. The old way of white folks was just to shoot you down, you know. Today, they’re a different kind. He has to be more clever to do the things that he does. So be careful of who feeds you because death is coming at us through the water.”

Turning to Mayo, Farrakhan said, “They (whites) may be out of office, but they’re watching to see if you make a misstep so they can put good out and put evil back.”

Mayo hasn’t said anything publicly about his get-together with Farrakhan. The interim police chief in Monroe, Eugene Ellis, defended sending police officers at the city’s expense to Grambling to escort Farrakhan to Monroe. He compared it to Monroe police escorting the Robertson family of “Duck Dynasty” fame. That’s not a joke. Ellis was serious.

The only support for Farrakhan’s visit — other than Mayo and Monroe police — came courtesy of a reporter for the daily newspaper in Monroe, The News-Star.

Appearing online Christmas Day, The News-Star published a glowing piece about Farrakhan’s followers in the area. Then again, what should we expect from a newspaper owned by Gannett Corp.?

As far as Mayo is concerned, he has some explaining to do. He may agree with Farrakhan that all white people are evil and should die, but he would do well to remind himself that he’s the mayor of a city that’s inhabited by blacks and whites. It’s also a city whose future — economically speaking — is tied at the hip to a Fortune 150 company that soon will be run by a man who doesn’t live here and has no allegiance whatsoever to northeastern Louisiana. After all, in corporate America these days, a company’s image means almost as much as the bottom line and associating with bigots — even if it is a mayor — is a no-no.

So, if Mayo desires to preside over Monroe’s collapse, by all means he should continue to embrace racists like Louis Farrakhan.

Sam Hanna Jr. can be reached by phone at 318-805-8158 or e-mail at samhannajr@samhannajr.com.

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