The Civil Rights Anthem, “We shall overcome” should be replaced with “we shall not sell out to the Jews.” Is it possible that these words were uttered in this country just four years ago? Is it possible that this remark was uttered at a University rally where some of the nation’s youngest and most intelligent minds convened? And is it possible that the man from whose mouth this proposition emerged is today running for public office? All of the answers to these questions are yes. The next question then is what is going to be done about it? The man in question is Mark Thompson, a 31-year-old affiliate of the Umoja party and current candidate for D.C. city council. The above quote was taken from a 1994 Howard University rally where Thompson was a speaker. Since that time, Thompson has engaged in other controversial activities, including his failure to file income tax returns for six years (based on his belief that to do so in the District is tantamount to taxation without representation) and a conviction of spousal assault (he chose not to testify in the trial). Kaha Fatah, Thompson’s now estranged wife, alleges that he assaulted her multiple times during their marriage, including while she was pregnant with their now five-year-old daughter. Fatah also claims that Thompson has threatened her life more than once, failed to pay his child support in full and has not attended domestic violence classes aimed at helping him learn to control his rage. All of Mark Thompson’s colorful domestic history and position on D.C. taxation aside, the fact that a politically minded man had the audacity to make such a slur in a public forum as recently as four years ago remains. One would think that stating such a blatantly prejudiced viewpoint should brand Thompson’s candidacy for any public office little more than a joke as tasteless as his comment. Surprisingly, this has proven not to be the case. District Mayor Marion Barry recently endorsed Thompson along with other local high-profile political figures. In fact, H.R. Crawford, a former member of the D.C. council, cited Thompson as an outstanding African American role model. How could this be farther from the truth? Nearly any black member of the graduating class at Howard University in 1994 listening to Thompson’s speech would likely serve as a more distinguished African American role model than its author did. The implication that in spite of his obvious deficiencies, Thompson is even an adequate, let alone outstanding role model, is ludicrous! If Mark Thompson is an outstanding African American role model, to what, if any, standard is this man being held? During an interview on Fri., Oct. 16, Thompson responded to his anti-Semitic statement in 1994 by saying, “I shouldn’t have said it. What I thought immediately after I said it and what I have thought since then is I shouldn’t have said it.” An apology is conspicuously missing from this superficial explanation, as is any indication that he no longer feels this way about the Jewish population. It is not shocking to hear that Thompson regrets saying something that has surfaced and could potentially hinder his political career? No rational person, either pro- or anti-Thompson, would argue with the fact that he shouldn’t have made the statement. Even those who agree with what he said would likely condemn the public anti-Semitic remark for the simple reason that it has created conflict in Thompson’s campaign. What remains to be seen is if his beliefs have completely changed in the last four years, or does he merely wish that he had never made the comment? These are two entirely different scenarios, and without his confirmation of either possibility, one can only speculate as to his current intentions and opinions. Jennifer F. Baron is a junior in the College of Arts and Sciences.

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