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by Dr. Boyce Watkins

The other day, I was intrigued by the words of Min. Louis Farrakhan, as he gave a public address regarding President Obama’s announced support for gay marriage. I love hearing what Minister Farrakhan has to say, and although I don’t agree with every word, I’m sure he doesn’t expect me to agree with everything he says either. Instead, Farrakhan speaks the truth from his perspective, and he delivers it in a way that no one else can.

I was happy that Farrakhan threw his hat in the ring on the gay marriage conversation. Here are the reasons why:

1) Farrakhan says the things that other are afraid to say: For hundreds of years, black people have become well-conditioned to say things in a way as to keep our oppressors most comfortable. Louis Farrakhan wasn’t trying to maintain a good relationship with the White House, for he doesn’t need approval from the White House in order to speak his mind. He wasn’t trying to lobby for a job at MSNBC, since he knows how to make his own money.

Farrakhan wasn’t speaking to expand his platform to a liberal audience or trying to make sure that Chris Matthews, Bill Maher, Melissa Harris-Perry or some other liberal commentator is pleased with him. Instead, Farrakhan laid his own gauntlet of truth in the middle of a very serious conversation, staking an independent claim to another point of view that can be added to the black national dialogue. That is difficult to do when someone is threatening to yank you off the stage for being an impolite negro.

2) Farrakhan has a point of view that is respected by millions of black Americans: Personally, gay marriage doesn’t bother me all that much, since a gay person has never asked for my hand in marriage. But for millions of African Americans, the issue is problematic, and unfortunately, we live in a nation where religious differences are not always respected. By speaking on the matter in a bold and forthright way, Minister Farrakhan is repeating millions of kitchen table conversations happening all across black America.

Far too often, the interests of black folks are hijacked by a liberal agenda, as our Democratic brothers and sisters end up treating us like Neanderthals who need to be taught how to think. As a case-in-point, notice how Democratic pressure pushed the NAACP to defy the wishes of a large percentage of its membership in order to openly back the president. The question I’d like to ask is whether or not the Democrats would be equally willing to defy millions of its members to support an African American issue. I think we know the answer to that question.

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