A Secure Community
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
(Editor's note: The following timely excerpt is from "Imam W. Deen Muhammad Speaks from Harlem," Volume II)
Whether it was intentional or not, slavery reduced us to sub-human classification, and then discriminated against us even after we were so-called freed: (we were) called ugly names, deprived of opportunity to drink out of the same public fountain, or eat from the same restaurant counter with other citizens who were white, or not our color. All of those bad experiences represent an environment in which we were being formed by influences.
And now the creature comes out from under that old ugly bad experience and situation, but he has to be aware that he carries with him the makeup of that past. And no matter how much he says to himself. "I* am equal! I am free! I am a child of God! I have as much rights as anybody else!" No matter how much he says that with his mouth, he has to remember that his genes are speaking too! His genes that have been formed over the period of generations.
His genes are saying, “Don’t say it too loud! Don’t disturb those who don't agree with you. Don't practice it anywhere but among you blacks. Don't carry it too far. After all, you know you have a need to rest. You know you don't want too much to do. You hated, also, work in the fields. So don't put yourself out on a limb and then have to apologize. So be careful of the philosophy that you preach!"
You know that this is true. You know what I am talking about! Maybe a Mexican in here might be confused. But you blacks, you so-called blacks, you so-called Negroes, you so-called African-Americans, you know what I am talking about. You KNOW what I am talking about! Oh yes, you know what I am talking about. So we have to be aware that we have come from experiences where we didn't have charge of our own senses. We -didn't have a grip on our own life. We had no sense of our own circumstances.
Don't you know that our people in slavery didn't have a sense of their own circumstances? They were confused! And now they are released from that kind of physical slavery into a society that rejected- them. And now they have to take on the responsibility of citizenship, of freedom, but have all of this behind them. And in front of them is nothing but a black wall, a black wall. They don't know where to go. They have to wait for something to happen in the white man's society.