Wed, 14 May 2014
Molefi Asante: Portrait of a Redbaiting Bootlicking Rat
A Black Agenda Radio commentary by executive editor Glen Ford
“Molefi Asante’s McCarthyism sounds like a relic from another age.”
Dr. Molefi Asante last year regained the chairmanship at Temple University’s African American Studies Department on the strength of a campus/community coalition organized largely by Dr. Anthony Monteiro, a veteran activist-scholar. Monteiro and others linked the fate of African American Studies at Temple with the struggle against gentrification of the surrounding North Philadelphia neighborhood and with larger issues of social justice. No sooner had the battle been won, than Asante conspired with white university officials to terminate Dr. Monteiro’s contract.
Asante’s behavior was typical of narrow cultural nationalists, who wear Africanesque wardrobes and pose as the ultimate Race-men, but ultimately wind up as chief bootlickers, servants and agents of white corporate power.
When Temple University informed Dr. Monteiro that his contract would not be renewed, Asante pretended that he had had nothing to do with it. However, as the campus/community coalition intensified its demand for Monteiro’s reinstatement, with tenure, the administration outed Asante as the instigator of his colleague’s termination. Exposed as a back-stabber, Molefi Asante appears to have lost what’s left of his mind.
In a statement on his Facebook page, Asante lashes out at Dr. Cornel West, probably Black America’s best known public intellectual, and at Dr. Marc Lamont Hill, the Philadelphia native, Columbia University professor, and TV personality, both of whom spoke at a recent rally for Dr. Monteiro. Drs. West and Hill are “dupes,” according to Asante. So is Pam Africa, the sister at the center of so many actions in support of Mumia Abu Jamal. The local community has been “misguided” by Monteiro the Marxist and his white communist allies who, the redbaiter Asante says, are promoting “an anti-African ideological view.”
“Spoken like a dashiki-wearing J. Edgar Hoover.”
Molefi Asante’s McCarthyism sounds like a relic from another age. His incredibly poorly written letter reads like a script from a 1950s Red Scare TV show. Dr. Monteiro is described as “skilled at propaganda in the vein of a leftist apparatchik.” Asante attempts to expel Black Marxists – or anybody Black that he suspects of being Marxists, or “dupes” of Marxists, or people like Drs. West and Hill, who are “doing their leftist duties” – from the Black radical tradition, which Asante claims “has always been Black Nationalist.”
This is some shrill and crazy stuff, spoken like a dashiki-wearing J. Edgar Hoover. When Asante says that “Tony Monteiro is a low level purveyor of Marxism and anti-African ideas,” all you have to do is substitute “African” with the word “American” and he sounds just like Ronald Reagan. Asante even attempts to take a swipe at Black Agenda Report, but says he’s waiting “for the ancestors” to give him the wisdom. That will be a long wait.
In reality Asante is just a rat who, as soon as a campus/community coalition got him his job back, ran straight to The Man promising to get rid of these same radicals and activists who’d been giving the university so much trouble about racism and gentrification. He is beneath contempt – and neither a scholar nor a brother.
For Black Agenda Radio, I’m Glen Ford. On the web, go to BlackAgendaReport.com.
BAR executive editor Glen Ford can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com.