Minister Louis Farrakhan is set to join Dr. Boyce Watkins and Your Black World on the Building Outstanding Men and Boys (BOMB) family empowerment tour, which stops in Chicago at the end of March. Dr. Watkins stopped by to see Minister Farrakhan to speak with him about the new film “Django Unchained.” Farrakhan and Watkins agree that the film could spark additional racial tension in a country that is already pushing the limits. With so many guns, militia and angry Americans out here, is there a reason to be concerned?
Dr. Watkins: Hi. I’m Dr. Boyce Watkins from YourBlackWorld.com and I am here with an individual for whom I have tremendous respect, Minister Louis Farrakhan. I first want to say, How are you today?
Min. Farrakhan: I’m better now that I’m in your company.
Dr. Watkins: You know what, the pleasure and the honor is all mine. Those of you who follow anything that I do, you know how much respect I have for Minister Farrakhan. I always say that he is the freest black man in America in my opinion and I learn from him. I want to say that also to you directly.
Now, I want to start by asking you about something that you and I were discussing a few minutes ago, the new film Django Unchained. You had some people saying the film was disrespectful to our ancestors in terms of how they portrayed slavery as a spaghetti western. Spike Lee uses that terms. And then you had other people who — I personally saw the film and felt comfortable with what I saw. In fact, I actually believe that a black man could not have made that film and had it receive that mainstream acceptance and get some many white people to see this film. What was your take on the film when you went to go see it?
Min. Farrakhan: I always, Dr. Watkins, try to ascertain what is the motive of the writer, what is the motive of the producer, and not what is the motive of the actor. Because, actors, that’s their job, if they like the script, to play the part. Every actor in that film, in my humble judgment, played their part.
Now, looking at motives is what concerns me: A black man angry; a black man bitter; a black man so deeply in love with his wife that he would endure what he endured to free her; a black man engaged with a white man who frees him but is with him as a bounty hunter where he kills those who own the plantation that he knew mistreated our people. In the end, he kills all that represented slavery and destroyed the house of the slave master and walks off into the sunset with his woman. He frees the servants and even kills the sister of DiCaprio who seemed rather kind to his wife. But, she was a mistress and these were black women as slaves.
I don’t know my brother’s, Spike Lee’s, point of view. I’d like to study it because he has an opinion that I don’t think can be dismissed. However, I see guns in the hands of 270 million Americans. 88.8 guns for every 100 persons in this country. I see assault weapons. I see, when our President, Barrack Obama, became a president in 2008, there were 149 militias. Today, there are over 1200 militia. And, when they thought that he might be reelected — I’m speaking of gun owners, of people that did not want the Second Amendment to be utilized — or not utilized, but abandoned. They went out buying guns like guns were going out of style. So many people bought guns that the FBI had to go through over a million people to see whether they were fit to bear arms.
When you have a gun — that 89 percent of American people feel that Congress is not good, only 11 percent favor the Congress of the United States. When you have armed militia and they are all white. They will not allow a black man to have guns and be in the company of other black men forming a militia. The Second Amendment says that there was no well-regulated militia to protect a free state. They had just won their independence. That’s the context of the Second Amendment. So it said that no American — their right to bear arms should be infringed upon because there was no well-regulated militia. Here you have well-regulated police, well-regulated state troopers, well-regulated National Guard, well-regulated federal troops, well-regulated FBI and ATF. So, if you have all of that well-regulated, what do American people need with all of these weapons that can kill 40 people at one time? So if they’re angry with their government — and some of them — as you remember reading that this judge in Texas said that if Barrack wins, that there may even be civil war. Civil war? Who are you going to fight in a civil war? Who are the people that you want killed?
So, to me, the movie changed the direction of guns, against a focus on a government that’s not working well for the American people to a threat from black people who have suffered and endured the worst form of slavery in human history. So, now, as I went to see the movie — a white woman coming out of the movie said to her husband, “I won’t be able to eat tonight.” The effect of that on white people is different than the effect on black people. Black people could sit there and remember his words, “I am on in ten thousand.” He played his part. And, when they asked him about the word nigger that was used, I think, about 110 times, he said, “Well, you know, I had a chance to work off my frustration,” because he was killing all these white folks.
Well, how does a white person see that? How do white people who feel the guilt of what their fathers have done to us — how do they feel? Do you think that they don’t think that if black folk had a chance to do to them what did to us — that’s what the movie is saying. That one out of ten thousand will be like that and maybe more.
So, to me, I loved his part. He played it well. Samuel Jackson, he played his part well. I mean, if I were a Tom sitting in the theatre, I mean, he played Tom to the max. So a lightweight Tom would want to get out of being a Tom just looking at the way he played Uncle Tom. DiCaprio, he played the white man jam up. And those that were killing us and beating us and all of that — look this was out of the past but there are white people right now shooting black men down. I’m not talking about us killing us now. I’m talking about white police, white people killing us at a rate that was even greater than the lynching. At the time there was one lynching every four days, now one black man dies at the hand of white people every three days. So, to me, the movie had a purpose. And, if a black man came out of that movie thinking like Django and if white people came out of that movie seeing the slaughter of white people and they are armed to the T, it’s preparation for race war.
Dr. Watkins: Wow. You know, that’s a very interesting point you make. I remember having a similar thought and I won’t go into that too much. But, when I saw the film, I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. You really never see anything like that. If you think about the sensitive time that we’re in in our country right now, that movie could set off a firestorm. I agree with you.
Now, to be efficient with your time, I’m going to ask you another question that I really wanted to get to. You and I were talking about leadership earlier and the challenges, the struggles, the hurdles of staying strong in the face of struggle. I think a lot of people can identify with that because a lot of us have our challenges. How have you been able to remain focused and to remain strong over the 50 years or more that you’ve been working hard for your community? What allows a person to remain focused even in the toughest of times?
Min. Farrakhan: The greatest gift that a leader or person who leads should have is love for those whom you lead. If you don’t love our people, our people will burn us out because often time we become, some times our worst enemy. The envy, the jealousy, the strife, the organizational things that go on. So, if you’re going to lead, you have to love. And if you love, that’s the feud that allows you to take the insults, to be criticized by those you’re trying to help, to have your own people turn on you and reject you because the enemy does not like you. If you’re weak in your love for them, then their hatred of self and you will burn you out. So, I think, for 57 years I have been faithful to the struggles of people and if God give me 50 more years, I don’t see any way that they will stop me from loving them. No matter what they think of me, I will continue to fight to see our people ultimately free, justified, civilized, and equal to any civilized nation on our planet.
Dr. Watkins: Well, those are wonderful words and they mean — and I’ll just be honest with you and tell you that they mean more to me then you could imagine. Because, there have been struggles that I’ve had to endure recently that called for that kind of wisdom. I think that — what you reminded me of was something that I’ve always said that you can believe something and sometimes things happen and they can cloud your vision. I’ve always believed that love is certainly stronger than hate, that you don’t fight fire with fire; you fight fire with water. Love is the water that can kill the hate and you don’t try to out-hate the enemy; you love them.
So, I will say thank you from the bottom of my heart for all that you do. I have a lot of respect for you. You’re going to participate with us in the Building Outstanding Men and Boys series in a couple of months. I truly appreciate that and I thank you for everything.
Min. Farrakhan: Well, may God continue to bless you, Dr. Watkins, in all that you do good for our people and for others.
Dr. Watkins: Thank you so much for that. I really appreciate it.
And thank you all for checking us out at YourBlackWorld.com. Until we meet again, please stay strong, be blessed, and be educated. We are gone. Peace.