January 8, 1993
"Make Your Behavior Compatible With Your Claim"
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Pull Away From Negativity
Aren't African Americans tired of walking around in the gloom complaining? We are being given all the statistics on our failures and no statistics on our successes. We are being told about every ailment we have gotten since we came on the shores of America. But we are not told of any of the good things that have happened to our health since we have been in America. That will make a man sick.
If you want to get sick quick, even if you are healthy, let someone keep telling you negative things. Let someone walk up to you and tell you, "Your own son said something about your character." They keep bringing you negative things. After a while you will begin to feel weak and sick. And something in your nature will tell you right away, "I don't want to hear anymore of that.
We know in our nature to pull away from a lot of negativity. Negativity will make you sick and weak and will take away your ability. But we will let these advocates of "blackism" do nothing but talk to us about negative things. They only tell how much bad has happened to us in our history in America, how much we have been held back, how much wrong has been done to us by Whites, and the statistics on how many were killed 50 to 100 to 200 years ago. Then they will ask that you keep coming back for more.
Some are meeting everyday now and doing nothing but pouring negativity into the ears and into the sensitivities of the people who will listen. It is no wonder that we can't sense or see the opportunity that is here in America for us now. It is no wonder that we can't take advantage of those opportunities as Roland Burris and Ted Kimbrough and Carol Moseley Braun and the many who are doing the same in business and in other professions. We can't take advantage of opportunity because these "prophets of blackism" are too busy killing our mental and moral initiative.
We are not going to excuse this problem or pretend that it doesn't exist in the name of some pretend unity. Should we keep quiet while we are seeing something that is destroying our real hope for unity? Should we keep quiet just because there is an African American or Black man advocating that? No. I had to differ with my own father, because something in me bigger than me and my father was urging me.
The good health, well being, and good future of our people and the good health and well being and future of our children who are here now and to come is bigger than us in our blackism.
The Challenge: To Stand On Solid Moral Ground
We need courage, and I am pointing to the courage that was in us inherent and moving us forward. It was a courage to go forward behind the best of our aspirations. It was the courage to stand up to the White world and look it in the eye and face White America on solid moral grounds and tell it:
"You are not the man you claim to be. You claim to be a Christian following Jesus Christ, but your behavior says different. Your most precious document of your government and your claimed governmental way of life say things about inborn humanity and about human vision and human liberated perception and human aspirations and noble human nature that we don't see reflected in your treatment of us."
We were forced to rise and stand upon solid moral grounds and challenge the whole of America that was saying that we were slaves and inferior by nature. We challenged them. But we didn't go up in the sky and get some invented (false) idea of our origin. We didn't go into Africa and regress or go back before there was Christianity or before there was Islam. We didn't go backwards into paganism and ancestry worship and animism to get an argument to face White America. We went to what was present and evident. We went to his low behavior and to his high claim and said to him. "Make your behavior compatible with your claim!"
We were on solid ground and supported by our inherent excellence. God created an inherent excellence in us no different than that given all people. We were put into a terrible condition of slaves. Physical chattel slavery in this country dehumanized us, and we had no one to turn to. We knew of no nation that would rescue us or would come here and argue with White America for us. We had nothing to turn to but an urge inside coming from what God created that said: "This is wrong and I cannot tolerate it."
From that we succeeded and have gone a long ways. We succeeded even in bringing the majority of White America to either be silent or be true. We don't have any problem now with the majority of the people in White America. The problem is with a minority of people in White America. The great majority has supported legislature to have equal opportunity become the law, to have discrimination abolished forever — and I say "forever," for it will never come again. Some of those advocates of blackism will tell you, "Yes, it is on its way. Soon all of those laws will be changed." But what will change them?
Not only has America been awakened and the best of her conscience has arisen, but she now has taken the stand that, "Yes, we were shaming ourselves with our behavior. Our claims were noble, but we shamed and discredited those claims and therefore we also shamed ourselves." They will never return to that behavior, because people of conscience around the world are also recording. It is not much that America can stand upon now when it wants to establish its leadership in the world. I hope you don't think that White America is crazy enough now to lose the best she has going for her. And that "best" is her strength and courage to repent her ugly sinful diabolic, devilish ways of her past.
She has to say at least on the books and in the open public through the media that she has changed. I don't know what is being said in private by some element, and only God knows that. God doesn't give us the right to say what some may have in their hearts. They (Whites) have gotten the strength to repent their ways and the world has seen what has happened. If they start going back to that now, we will not be alone like we were before. There will be human driven nations on our side.
But we don't have to worry about that. It is not going to happen. I can tell you right now that all of the Klan and skinheads and everything else all together aren't any match for just me and my associates. I am a sober minded man and don't like rash statements. I try to think things over very carefully before I speak. My associates and I don't need Christian help or White man's help; we can take care of all the Klan and skinheads who want to start their thing again.
There is something in an African American who has been liberated by the law, but who is not liberated by Allah. There is something in him that makes him become unreal and behave unreal and artificial when he meets a real challenge. That artificiality is not in us. We have gotten pass that. When we meet a real challenge, the same thing that we (our men) did in Korea and in Vietnam, we will do in America if it is necessary.
Seeing the Battle, But Unseen Is The Cause
How can I address our priorities for sharing life and responsibility in the city, in the neighborhood and in the community, without pointing to the thing that is hindering us from even being sensitive or open to such noble idea? Many of us are not sensitive and are not conditioned to be open to such an idea. You know them. They don't want to be responsible citizens of Chicago. They are going to do things in the name of "Black Supremacy" and in the name of "Blackism". They are going to do things in the name of their own idea of humanity that cuts out the bigger section of humanity, showing only them to be of human worth.
Unfortunately, we have many innocent African Americans who are influenced by their idea of "blackism" and "black pride". Many are confused because of their advocating their fractured idea of what is the original black man. It is a myth of origin, a myth of life, a myth of the destiny of our people. Their "blackism" has touched many innocent African Americans who do not even know one iota of fact about the Honorable Elijah Muhammad's real mission and life. They only know his life on the battle field of racism in America. They do not know his real life as a human person. That goes also for Malcolm; they know "X," but they do not know the real person.
In Spike Lee's film, in spite of it being a film put together to make money — not a documentary — still I hope enough truth is told in it about Malcolm and about where his interest was to influence our youth in the streets to want to see the whole Malcolm. I hope they are not satisfied to just see a little facet or small peep hole on him. The real man was not the man who was addressing the evils as much as it was the conscious of a mission to establish his created excellence and to free himself from the evils.
Why was Malcolm so angry with discrimination? Why was he so angry with the White man's dominance over us? He was angry because something inside Malcolm said. "I am created by God to enjoy the same freedoms he enjoys. I am created by God to have equality as a human being with him, not to be dominated by him." So if he was angry and ready to do violence, we have to understand what was forcing him and demanding of him that kind of courage. It was something held precious, and "White" America was oppressing it (our created nobility).
If I hold my newborn baby to be precious and some evil comes against that baby, it may take me a week to 20 years to deal with that evil. In time I may be observed at my task and it may be thought I am motivated by hate. "Oh, he just likes the fight side of this thing."
Muslims are in a good and excellent situation. We are in a situation as good as could be for any African American in this country. Our situation is excellent, and we owe most of that to our past life and past experience under the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. The nourishing hands of my mother, Clara Muhammad are never out of my recall. From them (my parents) I got a conditioning to want to be satisfied and comfortable with my own ability to think.
The Courage To Think Independently
There was a great African American intellect and intellectual by the name of W.E.B. DuBois. He was an educator and a great man. The N.A.A.C.P. came about because of his leadership. DuBois said and it is recorded in history, 'The coming generations will progress in the measure that we have the courage to teach them to think."
Recently, a supporter of what we are about called in while a person claiming to be Minister Farrakhan's assistant was on a show and receiving calls and questions. He was sounding good in the beginning of the questioning and cautioning a certain caller to remember that we are all brothers and that we are all Muslims. But as this caller continued to insist upon the rule of intelligence and that the conversation and the belief be intelligent, this speaker got so upset at the caller that he said, "You used to be the White man's nigger; now you are the Arab's nigger. Your leader went to the Pentagon and prayed for those bombs that were dropped on the Muslims of Iraq."
How can you trust a mentally fragile man like that to be your leader? I am not talking about Farrakhan, for it was not him - it was his assistant. But if Farrakhan tolerates such, then it also goes for Farrakhan. How can you tolerate a man who will outright lie to take attention off his crumbling stand, to look good on radio to his audience of "blackism" burdened people? That was an outright lie and Dr. K. Muhammad knows it.
I never went to the Pentagon to pray for any blessings on any bombs. I did not go there to meet any of the high brass. I went to the Pentagon in the interest of Muslims on the bases to have the opportunity to be chaplains in the Army. Why can't everyone be truthful? My visit there was to support their interest in getting for Muslims the same opportunities that Christians and Jews and others have in the Armed Services and on the Army bases. I also addressed the need to clarify what is Islam and what is not Islam. I addressed what is our desire for a future in America.
We don't desire to oppress the American people or to dominate over Christians or take their churches away from them. That is un-Islamic. If we want to be in a good situation to shoulder our responsibility as citizens of Chicago and as members in a mixed community or in a community of Muslims, we have to get rid of those ideas that are making us artificial and anti-human in our mental make up.