LETTER: The Million Man March: Farrakhan's words offer renewal

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The Independent Online
From Mr Dick Baptiste

Sir: According to John Carlin and your leading article (16 October), the Million Man March that took place in Washington DC on Monday was a spectacle that would make "Martin Luther King weep if he were alive today", and a "sideshow", compared to the merits of, say, a black president.

It's true that some of Louis Farrakhan's more extreme political views are thoroughly reactionary and deserving of criticism, but this does not take away the reality of the worsening situation of the African-American community. Mr Carlin acknowledges the poverty and discrimination of the black community, but it seems that any action that does not invoke the "integration" philosophy of Dr King can only be a hindrance to the emancipation of black American people.

Black nationalism is no answer to the institutionalised racism in America, but it is an attempt to invigorate black people with pride in themselves and, more importantly, it recognises the role played by central government in fostering and promoting racism.

With or without the Nation of Islam or an OJ Simpson trial, the problems of black America will not go away; neither will they bear any fruit in a future Powell administration.

Yours sincerely,

Dick Baptiste

Mitcham, Surrey

17 October