Imam W. Deen Muhammad's Oakland Address: Part 5
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
(Editor's note: This is the final installment of Imam W. Deen Muhammad's Taaleem address in Oakland, Calif.)
As a people now we have to be re-educated to see that freedom cannot stop with the kinds of freedom that we have been pursuing. The freedom to leave the south or wherever we were. The freedom to work on jobs and consume clothing and decent living quarters. The freedom to participate in the political process. The freedom to be a citizen of the United States. We have to go higher than that.
A creature created for toil and having the urge in him to know and to understand that what he is perceiving and seeing in the environment around him, a creature motivated by destiny! Every human being is motivated by destiny. What kind of destiny? Now, destiny might have many meanings. What I am meaning at this particular time is what we are meaning, when we talk about motivation. That is if you have a potential to become better, bigger, greater, more important, more significant, more useful in the world, there is a potential here for that. God puts it there; God created you with. Your destiny is to realize more and more of that. So we are creatures motivated by destiny.
A man will become a great painter, a great fighter, a great soldier; this destiny expresses itself in all kinds of ways. The great soldier contributes and fulfills himself, if he reaches satisfaction. The artist, the fighter, the scientist, or whoever, if he reaches satisfaction, he has lived to see his destiny. He has come to his destiny, and that was his destiny.
Now if any of you African-Americans here today tell me that you are satisfied, then I know what your destiny is. Your destiny is selfish; you have a selfish destiny! No man can feel that he has reached his destiny, while other men in his same situation are suffering and in bad shape, down hearted, disappointed, and without hope. No, you cannot feel that you have reached your destiny. Your destiny is to respect the life of the people that you belong to, until all or at least a sufficient number of us feel that we have reached our destiny.
Our destiny should be to come to a state where we are comfortable with or without the white man. Circumstances behind us have affected our lives, so that that must be in the destiny of the African-American people. To come to a state where we will be comfortable with or without the white man. My soul yearns for that, and my soul hungers for that day when we will be happy and content with or without the white man. It can happen if we do what the wise before us have told us to do.
I am not going to name all of them, so I am just going to name one. He said our race will progress in a measure equal to the extent to which we will go in teaching our children to think. That was the great intellect W.E.B. DuBois who said that a long time ago; he is gone, he has passed. And many of us knew this, but have we really appreciated what he said and tried our best to teach our children to think? Even before our freedom, there were slaves in captivity that felt a burden on them to teach their children to think. If they had to die, they did not want to die and leave their young children in slavery without them knowing that they had to think.
And history says, that when the first slaves were freed and as soon as they realized they were free, they went to grab books and papers and anything in print. It is said that they would be seen resting on the plow in the field with a piece of print trying to read it. That is the intellect. They didn't go out saying, "We are free! We are free! Hey, snort coke, snort coke, snort coke!" They didn't say, "We are free, so let's start a movement. Hey, white man, we are free like you!" They didn't have that kind of thought; that was not moving them. They weren't moved to go and fuss with the white man. They fussed with the white man, until they got freed. Then when they had gotten freed, they went looking for knowledge.
But every time we get a measure of freedom with this new mind that the big cities gave us, with every measure of freedom we get, we want rest. And what is our rest? It is talking a lot of trash and complaining just to be complaining. "Man you know these bills are too high. The white man has got a deal pressing us still, man. How are we going to live with these kind of bills, brother? They have everything, and we don't have anything." But he has televisions and genuine leather coats and fancy cars. But he is complaining! Why? Because he is not thinking.
We need to think more and more seriously. We need to think constructively. Think in progress for self as a creature. Every man has himself as an instrument in his hands, and the most useful and most resourceful instrument in your possession is yourself. Now do you want a bare tool in your hand, if you are going to do a job? You will want a good tool in your hand. Every man has himself in his own possession or in his own charge as an instrument! Will you go make a hammer out of clay and then try to drive spikes with it? No! Here we are complaining and complaining, that "we can't meet the challenge, and we can't do this and the world is rigged against us. The white man has it all set up." But you can manage it! You have to improve the tool; you have to improve the instrument, yourself.
To keep from giving a long talk, I will give a quick example. A poor Asian will come over here frailer than you and can't hardly talk. He will live in a situation that you can't tolerate, because you are a pampered black oppressed brother. He lives in that and eats little and plays hardly at all. If he can't play without spending money, then he doesn't play. He will live that way for three or four years in the land of opportunity, and pretty soon he is buying the property that you got put out of yesterday. Why? It is because he is better composed; he is better constituted or has a better makeup as an instrument to do the job of surviving and progressing in the American society.
But you are not. You have been pampered so much and had your appetite excited so much, until you are just a creature of appetites and habits. It is said that anything you give yourself to over a long period of time will eventually influence your formation, the making of you. It will mold you. So you give yourself to the habit of putting everything on the white man and demanding more and more from him all the time, pretty soon you won't have any legs. All the muscles will be gone out of your legs. You aren't walking. You aren't doing anything but asking for food. You won't have any muscles in your arms. You aren't working, so the muscles have gone out of your arms. You are just gone. So your involvement over a long period of time will eventually create you. And if you aren't involved in anything, if you are doing nothing but asking and begging and complaining, pretty soon that situation is going to make you unfit for the world of challenge.
Lastly, as I bring this talk to a conclusion, I will say that we live in a peculiar kind of democracy. This is not just any kind of democracy; this is a super democracy. What do I mean by super? It is very, very, very, very complex! It is not a simple democracy. We are not the only country with a democracy; there are countries all over the world that call themselves democratic. But what is so special about western democracy? The Jews claim that they have the same democracy in Israel. But the special thing about this democracy, specifically the American democracy, is that you are free. But freedom doesn't mean that you are not going to have problems with that freedom. The most problematic freedom on earth is freedom in America.
When they freed us as slaves in the south of the United States of America, the first thing they should have done was try to educate us. They should have educated us to the nature of America's freedom. Because they have men in their leadership, they have giants among men who understand and they are leaders for the rest of them. The white masses follow white leadership. And when they have problems, they will start raising hell and start looking for a leader. Once one pops up that sounds like he can lead them, they give that man their support. That is the white man.
But as for us, we don't want anyone to solve our problems. We want somebody to voice our complaints. "Yes, tell them, Jesse. Tell them, Jesse!" And then you go on back home with the same damn problems.
Now in concluding, I want to say this, that we do not live in any simple situation in America, This is no simple situation. People are free to consume each/ other and are encouraged to consume each other. The newcomers that come over here know what kind of freedom this is; they are free over there enough to see what kind of freedom this is in America. Sometimes you can see the mountain better from a distance, than you can when you are standing right by it. They are coming over here to get into the competition. And they know that you progress by being a consumer. Not a consumer on the shelves of the grocery store, but as a consumer of people. They come here and look and say, "The English came. The Jews came. Now we are Asian, and what is left for us to consume" There is the white man and many of them are ignorant, so let us consume some whites. Oh, there is the blacks. I feel sorry for the blacks, so I can't consume them. But my cousin, you are poor as hell. Why don't you go to the black neighborhood and consume them?"
They are just swallowing up people, and you have never been out of a belly. But you are wondering what your problem is.