There will be a lot of resistance to believing he’s sincere, but myself, I tend to believe Quanell X when he says:
“I apologize to every Jewish (Holocaust) survivor that may have heard anything I have ever said,” Quanell said at the end of his tour, which culminated with his placing a stone at an outside memorial, a Jewish custom at a gravesite. “How could I say anything in a vile, malicious or repugnant manner to anyone who has been in one of these camps? I should have never threatened like that.”
I seek the forgiveness of every survivor who has heard the words I’ve said,” he continued. “I did not say them in the proper manner to make the point I was trying to get across. I can see and understand how they might be utterly paranoid (of) a person such as myself.”
What he said in 1995 was abhorrent to anyone who possesses empathy — black or white, Jewish or Christian or Muslim. He threatened people who had already been terrorized beyond any understanding, and called for more violence against them.
Angered by Jewish protests over a conference dedicated to “the black Holocaust,” 24-year-old Quanell X told the gathering that offended Jews “can go straight to hell,” then expounded on his sentiments to a Chicago Tribune reporter.
“The real deal is this: Black youth do not want a relationship with the Jewish community or the mainstream white community or the foot-shuffling, head-bowing, knee-bobbing black community,” Quanell said. “I say to Jewish America: Get ready … knuckle up, put your boots on because we’re ready and the war is going down.”
Horrifying. Chilling. But people can, and do, change.
While his massively offensive speech was made in Washington DC, this is a big deal in this area, because Quanell X is Houston’s version of Louis Farrakhan. Divisive, racist, and incredibly polarizing, he’s been at the forefront of every race-related issue for as long as I’ve lived here.
This won’t mend everything. His hostilities and rhetoric extend(ed) far beyond the Jewish community. According to Wikipedia, in fact, it was his exhortations to violence against white Houstonians that led to his ouster from the Nation of Islam.
But it’s a first step — an awesome step. I wish him luck on the rest of his journey.