By now, you have very likely heard of entertainer Nick Cannon’s startlingly racist remarks this week on his podcast, “Cannon’s Class.”
In the video, which YouTube has since removed for hate speech, Cannon dialogues with disgraced anti-Semitic rapper Professor Griff, tossing around ideas such as “melanated” people being “gods” and people lacking melanin lacking the “compassion” that comes with having darker skin, fearing “genetic annihilation” and being “a little closer to animals.”
Nick Cannon says white people are “a little less,” “closer to animals,” “the true savages,” “acting out of a deficiency so the only way they can act is evil.” When does he get canceled? pic.twitter.com/vK3TBDW9i8
— Adam Ford (@Adam4d) July 14, 2020
However senseless and shocking they may be, I urge you not to simply write Cannon’s words off as one man’s mindless hatred. Like any philosophy so antithetical to the truth, these ideas are much, much deeper than one man and if we ignore them, they will only spread.
Ideas not only have consequences; they usually have ancestors as well. In the case of Nick Cannon’s brazen black supremacist ideology, its most notable living progenitor is — as Cannon alluded to — Louis Farrakhan, the current leader of the Nation of Islam.
Many of us are familiar with Farrakhan’s caustic, racist, headline-grabbing words — that white people “deserve to die” or, most notably, the 2018 remark that saw him permanently banned from Twitter that he is “not an anti-Semite” but “anti-Termite.”
We may not, however, fully grasp the depths of darkness taught in the Nation of Islam’s anthropology which — just as it did during the ‘60s Civil Rights Movement — is gaining popularity.
Starkly distinct from the orthodox Islam of the Sunnis and Shiites, the Nation of Islam adds to the religion of Muhammad a sickeningly racist mythology that allows light-skinned people to be viewed as closer to animals than their dark-skinned brothers and sisters.
The Southern Poverty Law Center, which I in no way wish to endorse, happened to sum it up best in its designation of the NOI as a hate group:
“Ideologically, NOI is very distinct from mainstream Islam. Its ‘theology’ – or more appropriately, its mythology – holds that the original humans were black, and that God, who is a black man, created them. White people were not created by God but by the evil black scientist Yakub. Yakub used eugenics to create white people, killing many black babies to do so. Because of the process by which Yakub created the white race, white people are inherently deceitful and murderous. Given these views, it is not surprising that white people are banned from NOI.”
In NOI’s own words:
“The lost people of the original nation of African descent, were captured, exploited, and dehumanized to serve as servitude slaves of America for over three centuries. [NOI founder W.D. Fard Muhammad’s] mission was to teach the downtrodden and defenseless Black people a thorough Knowledge of God and of themselves, and to put them on the road to Self-Independence with a superior culture and higher civilization than they had previously experienced.”
To be clear, the fringe of Christianity has its own white supremacist version of this wicked doctrine, namely the myth of the “Curse of Ham or Canaan,” and it is no less dangerous or deserving of condemnation.
What do all of these wicked ideologies have in common? Their rejection of the truth of the gospel. That — and not merely any social or political implications — is the crux of the issue.
Even orthodox Islam, but especially NOI, is a religion with nationwide dominion as the end goal. Where Christian faith looks ahead to Christ ruling his creation, Islam grinds and toils toward building and subjugating all the earth under the Caliphate.
In our current environment of racial tension reaching its boiling point, what could be more harmful to black Americans bombarded by messages of their own oppression than the Nation of Islam telling them that blackness is next to godliness?
People who have been victimized for their dark skin color — which certainly does happen — are given by NOI the opportunity to harness their very real pain and resentment into power. Now, they can become the oppressor by divine right as melanated “gods.”
I cannot overstate how dangerous this is.
In Jesus’ parable of the unforgiving debtor, we see that someone who has experienced oppression can easily become the most merciless oppressor. Only through the indwelling power of Christ and the remembrance of his forgiveness of our sins can we ever forgive those who have trespassed against us.
Although Cannon more recently offered a limp apology for his words, we know the influence of Farrakhan and NOI won’t end with him.
As the Overton window continues to shift, Farrakhan’s views will only continue seeping into the mainstream.
The fact that Cannon was able to spew this venom on his show — and be defended for it by hordes of followers both black and white — demonstrates the slow but steady traction black supremacist ideology is gaining.
Cannon’s words merely lifted a stone, revealing all the hidden resentment, hatred and desire for supremacy crawling and slithering beneath the surface.
So where does this leave us?
We must warn against the dangers of any variety of racial supremacy. As Martin Luther King, Jr. said at the Southern Methodist University in 1966:
“A doctrine of black supremacy is as dangerous as a doctrine of white supremacy. God is not interested merely in the freedom of black men and brown men and yellow men, but God is interested in the freedom of the whole human race and the creation of a society where all men will live together as brothers.”
But I tell you, even such a utopia of diversity is not the focal point of God’s endgame. It is the final destruction of all sin and godlessness and the restoration of his kingdom that we look forward to — and that all those who preach evil wish to escape.
We don’t need to skirt the issue that racism is still alive and well in America today. We don’t need to turn a blind eye to it or refuse to call it out when we see it. If anything, Cannon’s words — and those of Farrakhan and his teachers before him — prove it right alongside the worst of white supremacist rhetoric.
But I beg of you, if you believe that black souls matter, do not condemn them to the bondage of hate and fruitless works that Farrakhan’s Nation of Islam offers. Reach them with the truth. Urge them to seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.
“For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is no male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” — Galatians 3:27-28
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