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Ron Radosh

The African-American poet Amiri Baraka (born Everett Leroi Jones) died yesterday. Already, the press is whitewashing — or should I say, in deference to the deranged late race hater, blackwashing — his real record of obscenity.

Leading the charge, naturally, is NPR, whose obituary tells us that he was “controversial,” and that he “co-founded the Black Arts Movement of the 1960s. His literary legacy is as complicated as the times he lived through, from his childhood — where he recalled not being allowed to enter a segregated library — to the 2001 attack on the World Trade Center. His poem about that attack, ‘Somebody Blew Up America,’ quickly became infamous.”

“Controversial” and “complicated” may be satisfactory to some of the network’s listeners, but even they could not ignore his most recent infamy — his poem after the attack on the United States on 9-11. NPR tells us Baraka “hurls indictments at forces of oppression throughout history,” and then prints some of the verses which indicate that what Baraka did was something else — indict the United States for being the real terrorist nation.

He was, in other words, a black Noam Chomsky who expressed in verse similar ideas as the noted radical linguist.

The following verse exemplified his belief that Jews knew in advance of the attack, and told their fellow religionists, and Israelis, to stay away:

Who knew the World Trade Center was gonna get bombed Who told 4000 Israeli workers at the Twin Towers To stay home that day
Why did Sharon stay away?

Who? Who? Who?

That was too much for the state of New Jersey, which quickly removed his title as poet laureate of New Jersey — which they gladly handed him when he wrote even more offensive verses throughout his career.

The plaudits and prizes he received, indeed, show something deeply sick about American culture, as well as the American academy. He was a full professor at Stony Brook — SUNY, and had grants from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as the Guggenheim Foundation. No wonder NPR’s obit tells us his work was “achingly beautiful.”

Turning to the New York Times obituary, we learn that his Black Arts movement “ought to duplicate in fiction, poetry, drama and other mediums the aims of the black power movement in the political arena.” We also learn that “critical opinion” about Baraka was “divided,” which is one way of putting it. We also find out that “Mr. Baraka spent his early career as a beatnik, his middle years as a black nationalist and his later ones as a Marxist. His shifting stance was seen as either an accurate mirror of the changing times or an accurate barometer of his own quicksilver mien.”

Whatever he called himself — and he certainly blended black nationalism with Marxism — one thing was constant. He was a bitter, vile and open anti-Semite, who hated Jews over and above anything else he believed. The Times, of course, says only that his works “were periodically accused of being anti-Semitic, misogynist, homophobic, racist, isolationist and dangerously militant.”

Note that slippery word “accused,” with the implication that of course conservative, white and deluded right-wingers would make such a spurious charge. So they tell us his was a “powerful voice” and that he was a “riveting orator.” I guess the obit writer does not remember Adolf Hitler, about whom the same things could well be said, and who anti-Semitism was admired and equaled by Baraka. At least the obit included the judgment of Stanley Crouch — a black man who, like Baraka, wrote about jazz and blues, but who is the polar opposite of Baraka. Crouch said that his writing was “an incoherent mix of racism, anti-Semitism, homophobia, black nationalism, anarchy and ad hominem attacks relying on comic book and horror film characters and images that he has used over and over and over.”

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Top Rated Comments   
My mother always told me to say only good things about the dead so I will. He's dead. Good.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
The liberal adulation of monsters like Baraka leads to only one conclusion: Liberalism is evil. Inherently evil.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
"Controvertial" = wannabe murderous antisemite.
"Hater" = says something mildly critical about Islam and/or homosexuals.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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All Comments   (42)
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I can only wish Mr. Baraka a version of the fate of Prometheus, who was doomed to have his liver continually eaten away by vultures, only to have it grow back again and again. In Mr. Baraka's version of this hell, his foreskin is continually cut away (without anethesia) by a Jewish mohel, only to grow back again and again...
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
OK, but when you mentioned Chomsky I thought you were just reaching for the old joke about the "cunning linguist".
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Leroi Jones worked hard to scour all humanity from his soul and wallow in the cloaca maxima of anti-Semitism - leave it to NPR, achingly sensitive, to try to put back all that he left off , long ago.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Oh, come on, Ron. Sure he was a psychotic totalitarian, racist and anti-Semite, but he hated America, too, so he can't be all bad.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Speaking of homosexuals, leroi had a big issue with "fa@@ots" and simply could not shut up about the issue, and simply relished the word; everything non-violent, civilized or refined was "fa@@ot." It was always fa@@ot this and fa@@ot that with leroi, and that brings me to an unpleasant observation I have made over the years: black men are not only the biggest racists here in the US, but their recognition of homosexuality is so generally tinged with contempt and fear as to border on farce; homophobia is really a good term for it. As a rule, you can feel free to talk disparagingly of gay men around most black men, and you will get heads nodding in agreement--and leroi was exactly this kind of bigot, and said so again and again in print; he was much worse at the local barbershop, I'm sure.

His views on homosexuality do not appear to be the "live and let live" variety, but strike me as venomous, much like his position toward his other great hatreds: Jews and whites. I guess the lowest of the low would be a Jewish homosexual.

And aside from the delicious irony of dying in a Jewish hospital, here's the clincher: with a lunatic like leroi saying the things he did on a regular basis not just about whites and Jews, permitted targets in any liberal world-view, but against gays, why didn't anybody in the elite halls of PC liberalism say much of anything about it except that he could be "controversial?" Does anyone think an cultural icon of conservatism get away with any of the rot that leroi talked on a regular basis and hold chairs and honors at universities at the same time?

Because, as was the case of J. Wright, blacks who espouse racism, Jew-hatred, gay-baiting, and xenophobia, are given a complete pass by the cognoscenti--even though the liberal elite know full-well what is being said by these radical haters, they simply look the other way for political purposes, not an intellectual conscience in the bunch.

Leroi jones was no friend of the homosexual, make sure we add them to the long irrational list of groups of people he would have murdered, exiled or imprisoned if someone like him ever came near the levers of power he so deeply desired.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Roses are red violets are blue
I'm glad he's dead and his poem is poo.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
During Jesse Jackson Jr's 1988 run for the presidency Jackson was scheduled to appear at SUNY at Stony Brook. I was there holding up half of a bed sheet banner saying "welcome to Hymietown". Candidate Jackson was unable to make his appearance. Amiri Baraka personally threatened us from the podium, saying that we should remember that his side was better at breaking heads than we were and that we were outnumbered.

That day we were outnumbered, College Republicans and Tagar banding together in a merry band of pranksters monkeywrenching with glee and no doubt annoying Amiri Baraka. For his personal threat to me, I forgive him and hope that God does not trouble him on my account. For the rest, it's not for me to say other than I do my best as a christian to wish all the dead rest in peace.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Funny how the party of peace and tolerance often becomes what they behold.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
Compare another (nearly) simultaneous death: Ariel Sharon z"l. I was floored by the following:

When he got death threats in the guise of "Lily [his deceased wife] is waiting for you", his only reaction was a smile and "she is a wonderful woman and I'd love to be reunited with her, but it looks like we'll all have to wait a bit". Whatever drove this daring, ruthless warrior for his country, it wasn't hatred.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
If history is any guide it will take a generation before the truth about race-baiting con men like this slug can be told. To do otherwise opens the Lefg and Progressive graduates of the pomo tranzi nazi thought police process thst academia has fossilized into over the last decade to criticism and mockery of their foolishness which of corse is the equivalent of suicide to those who have created the near religious belief system that they are superior to us all and we need their community organizing and takes a village leadership in order to get by raising our kids, what to think, global climate engjneering you name it.
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
I remember very well the riots in Newark, I was working in downtown (first job after graduation)

My comment is my he rot in H... maybe take along his friends from SDS. Yes Tom Haydon and his buddies stirred much trouble in Newark

They blamed the problems on as they called it "White Flight" because whites moved to the suburbs
45 weeks ago
45 weeks ago Link To Comment
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