Address At The University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee: Part 3
Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Now, if you can imagine that being put into a holy scripture by the voice of God saying, "Write Jeremiah." Then we are reading this holy scripture, what do you think should be God's position? "Black people, you are under a curse! And until you reform and turn from your ungodly and unprincipled behavior, you are going to suffer in the world. And you are going to be the servants and slaves, the instruments of other people." I can see that written into scripture. What I am saying is this: that if we are really religious people, that is, black people, we should look at what has happened to us to change us and turn us from a God-fearing people, from a people trying to live as God wants us to live with good moral life, into the people we are today. We should see the change and say, "We are in for bad times. We are in for curses. There will be no blessings but curses, until we turn from this kind of behavior."
We don't need a prophet. We have enough preachers, and all we need is sincere preachers to point that out to the congregation and say, "Look! We called on God when we were here in America as physical slaves of the white man." We turned to God and He freed us from that condition. Then the white man terrorized us with the KIu Klux Klan organization, and we survived that because we stayed with God. Then the "Jim Crow" discrimination that lasted more than a generation or so, we survived that because we stuck with God. Then came equal opportunities with President Kennedy and President Johnson, and we were blessed. We got better jobs and more money. All of us started to live real good; we got fat eating chicken, lamb, and pork chops. We began wearing chinchilla coats and alligator shoes, with our youngsters wearing eighty-dollar baseball caps with snakeskin. Then we forgot God and lost our good behavior and our good direction. Now we are in a curse. We are under a curse, people!"
We don't need any prophets. If the preacher would just see that and start preaching that to the congregation, I think we could be helped a whole lot. What the Honorable Elijah Muhammad had to offer as a new genesis was this, "Stop looking to the white man with his superior position, with his superior power and superior wealth, stop looking to him to put you in heaven." The one who has can only do so much for the one who has not, and then he has to stop.
Now, if you want to be put in heaven, you have to work for yourself. You have to work at that yourself; you have to take that responsibility up yourself. That I am going to work myself into heaven. Really, God invites us to work ourselves into heaven. Doesn't He? Yes! For the Muslim, God invites us to work ourselves into heaven. You are not going to get there without working according to our Holy Book, you will not get into heaven without working! He invites us to work our way into heaven in the same way that you see in this world here everyday. You have to accept responsibility yourself for working yourself into heaven.
We should have accountability from our leaders, the men of better insight, the men of better vision because they have better educational resources, better schooling, and have learned more about life and the world, they should be responsible. Not only to themselves, they should be responsible to all of their lot, to all of their people. It is because, no matter how high they go in education, no matter how high they go in the material world, for a Cosby or a genius in academia will still be burdened like the common black man whenever he goes to meet a superior white man. Every time he has to go and meet a new white man that doesn't know him, he is hurt, for all that white man will see is another poor nigger.
That applies not only for the white man he meets, but it is for the black man also. We will go into a black bank, and the black banker says, "I don't know who this is." I will go in there wearing a jacket or sports coat and a pair of corduroy pants because it is comfortable, and they will treat me like I am a welfare recipient. This is my own people that treat me like I am a welfare recipient. They treat me nasty, and then I have to tell them who I am. One time I had to go and report to their superior. "I'm trying to support a black bank, so what kind of treatment is this? Do they want this money?"
Now when a small number of you are in bad condition, the race is not stigmatized. But when the majority of a people are in bad condition, then the race is stigmatized by the people. The majority of us are dependent, needy, and crying the blues. But if we could ever change this thing where the majority of us are doing well, and just a small minority among us are doing bad, then he who is a member of that minority of the poor will have the dignity of a poor white man. For the poor white man is not persecuted, because they don't know whether he is poor or not. The majority of his people are okay. Do you see the problem now?
We can never accept this condition! I have told my brother in the religion, "Look, you know I am Muslim. And as far as I am concerned, the only thing that is going to really solve this problem for us — for our problem is a group problem. Now, the only thing that is going to solve this problem for us, is that we come into an ideology that will give us a new sense of being, purpose, and direction. For me that ideology is Al-Islam." I have to be honest with you, although I am not trying to convert you to our religion, if you are not a Muslim. But, for me that is the answer for the African-American man. I told him not only that, but that I feel strongly in my soul and in my mind that our destiny in the eyes of God is to become Muslims in America. I believe that is our purpose in the eyes of God. This is our destiny. That is my belief.
Now, I have been preaching very hard to people who might be interested in Al-Islam, and I am not making very much progress. So, that is why I have told you that you need a genesis in Christianity. For if I can't convert you into becoming Muslim, then I am going to try to convert you into becoming better Christians. And to become a better Christian is to first get rid of the white dominance in Christianity. I think that I had better repeat that. First, get rid of white domination in Christianity. And that white domination is not in the form of men, it is on the pages of the Book, and in the way that the Book has been, put together, and presented to the world. It serves white domination. That is a fact, and we have to accept that in order to do better in the world.
At this time I am going to summarize what I have intended to give to you today. With the help of God, I pray that I do it in a way that is satisfactory. Most of us have not been helped by a philosophy, or a mythology, or myth that gives us a sense of place in this universal scheme of matter, of time, et cetera. Most other people do have that sense, and I think that makes a great difference. Some get it from religion and believe in it.
It is hard for the African-American, or black person to get that sense from the Bible or from Christianity. Why? It is because we have been presented a religion that seems to be white or European. So, how many of us really feel that Adam is our father? And don't lie! Don't tell me that lie, because I know better. For I am you, and I have had the same problem that I know most of you have. You say it, but if you think seriously about it, then you have a problem. It is because Adam is a white man in Christianity. So, how can you feel a sense of beginning and belonging to the whole scheme of the universe by believing in the Bible Genesis? By believing in Adam and Eve in the Garden? We have a problem.
The proof that we have a problem is that these new blacks that have been trying to bring about a black liberation in Christianity have changed all of that. They are saying, "No, the Adam and Eve in the Bible are two black people. Adam was black, and Eve was black." The white man comes up and com-i promises, and recently suggested that Eve was black. He says, "We know Eve was black. But we are still trying to find out what color Adam was." So, it is a big mess.