Finding Acceptance In Society
Imam W. Deen Muhammad
The African-American is a race distinguished in America from other races, and is also a minority group in this country. As far as the courts and healthy minded people of this country are concerned, we are as welcome here as any other citizen. Our right to be a citizen has been won, but we still have to fight, to struggle for a comfortable place in this society if we are to prosper and grow strong.
The African-American represents a threat to most independent minded ethnic groups in America. We pose a threat because we are uncomfortable with ourselves and un-established as a race, and as a community. A person who is unhappy at home will sometimes run to someone else's house, and that is what many African-Americans do because they are not happy in their own communities. You might think other ethnic groups are not entitled to their own separate community in America, but that is incorrect.
America is a pluralistic society. Other ethnic groups should be left alone to live their own cultural life in their own neighborhoods, and we should not try to destroy the character of those neighborhoods because this is America.
What I am saying to African-Americans is what the white man feels in his heart but won't say. It would put him in a very uncomfortable position. He believes that if he said these things to us, it would hurt our feelings and bring up old thoughts, and he hates to bring up old thoughts. His hands are tied. He can't be honest with us in a conversation. But thank God, we can be honest with each other.
Sometimes Truth Hurts
I know these truths about ourselves leaves a hurt feeling, but a truthful person can be in control of their feelings. If someone tells a lie, it is not going to hurt the truthful person. Lies only hurt a liar. As a people, we have a way of lying to ourselves and others. We think that we have to prove something to outsiders, and we are constantly trying to do just that. We have been in this habit so long that it has become natural for us.
Most of our people want to carry the personality and spiritual makeup that we think outsiders will approve. But before you think about outsiders, you should first think about your family. You should first want to be accepted by your family. You should want your family to approve of how you feel, how you think, and how you are motivated. Your behavior should be determined by the home situation. If you can form the behavior that is good for yourself, your family, your relatives and closest associates, then you can go anywhere in this world and people will accept you. But when people see you trying to satisfy outsiders, and you are not conscious of the need to satisfy your own people, they find it hard to accept you. If you won't be true to your own people at home, they will reason that you won't be true to anybody else, and they will be correct.
This pretence on the part of most African-Americans to satisfy outsiders is a lie; it is false, and we must face up to this truth even though it is uncomfortable to many of us. We must remind ourselves that this is America, and we have the same right to establish our own ethnic dignity as any other race or group in this society. We don't need to prove anything to anybody if we would just be true to ourselves.