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Louis Farrakhan’s nonsense hurts the fight for gender equality

Co-presidents of the 2019 Women's March Linda Sarsour, center, and Tamika Mallory, right, march along with others demonstrators on Pennsylvania Av. during the Women's March in Washington on Saturday, Jan. 19, 2019. | AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana

Every so often, Chicago’s Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan rouses himself to riff on a favorite theme: Accusing Jews of being mainly responsible for slavery in the Americas, a false claim easily ignored. Most recently, this occurred as the Women’s March was gearing up, which sowed disunity within the diverse group: Leaders of the black participants could not bring themselves to sever their link with Farrakhan, tenuous though it was, to satisfy Jewish participants who understandably were alienated by Farrakhan’s unsubstantiated claims.

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This unfortunate mischief undermines unity when it is most needed to demand gender equality. Apparently the black leadership of the Women’s March felt censuring Farrakhan might strain whatever relationship may exist with his group. Minimal research would show Farrakhan’s assertions to be nonsense. None other than the authoritative Dr. Henry Louis Gates of Harvard University, host of TV’s popular “Finding Your Roots,” has called the Nation of Islam’s writings on Jews and slavery “one of the most sophisticated instances of hate literature yet compiled,” massively misrepresenting the historical record.

The momentum toward gender equality has never been so palpable as it is at this moment. It would be a shame to see it sabotaged by the rantings of a race-baiter like Farrakhan, who conveniently ignores the generations-long history of Jewish-black collaboration towards full equality.

Ted Z. Manuel, Hyde Park

Gang database fine with me

I disagree with Toni Preckwinkle’s stand to abolish the Chicago police gang database.

If everyone in the justice system acknowledges the database has flaws, they’ll all know to take its findings with several grains of salt. Even Toni Preckwinkle doesn’t know if the database has ever affected even one person. She said, “This data — which is riddled with errors — often comes up in background checks and job interviews, which can sabotage the career prospects . . .” How often is “often”? And Ms. Preckwinkle says only that it “can” sabotage the career prospects, not “absolutely does.”

I’m drawing my own conclusions.

Martha White, LakeView