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Let's Lift Our Heads Up: Part 2

Imam Warith Deen Muhammad


With the Name Allah, the Gracious, the Compassionate. As-Salaam-Alaikum

On Feb. 24, 1980, Imam Warith Deen , Muhammad, leader of the World Community of Al-Islam in the West, delivered a stirring ad­dress on the subject of the African-American "Identity Crisis" in a nationwide, live radio broadcast. Speaking from Masjid Elijah Muhammad in Chicago, where more than 6,000 Muslims gathered for the address, Imam Muhammad urged African-Americans (Bilalians) to "lift our heads up" and put faith in God.

Following the Imam's hour-long broadcast directed to the general public, the members of the WC/ W conducted an extended meeting on Community matters via telephonic con­nections with scores of masjid communities around the country.

According to the WC/ W Council of Imams, this February meeting ends a near 50-year tradition of the Community in conducting a special February observance or convention during the last week in the month.

Following is an abbreviated text of Imam Muhammad's historic address. Continued from last week:


So when I read the book by Eugene Perkins I had to agree and also disagree with him. I agree with him that we do suffer a plantation .problem, but I am aware that the plantation problem goes beyond the plantation.

If we had had our right minds as slaves when we were freed we would have taken better ad­vantage of the opportunity. But because we didn't have our right minds as slaves, when the opportunity came we couldn't take good ad­vantage of it. We have been sloppy in our effort to try to take advantage of opportunity — very sloppy.

The very proof of that is the fact that more money comes through our hands than comes through the hands of any other minority in the country or in the world. There is not another minority in the world that has more money coming through its hands than we do.
I heard a figure not so long ago that 5130 billion a year comes through our hands. There have been estimates here recently of S90 billion to 8130 billion that comes through our hands annually — every year.

At one time our spending money amounted to more than the gross national product of Canada. But we have the greatest percentage on welfare, we have the greatest percentage out of jobs, we have the greatest percentage in crime, we have the greatest percentage behind bars.

Those are facts that we as responsible people, especially leaders, have to deal with. We have to face those facts, we have to deal with those facts, we have to find the causes; all problems have causes.

All this money is coming through our hands and our condition stays relatively the same. What I mean by relatively — if we go back in history we find that during Reconstruction time, many Bilalians held more positions of prestige than we do now; we do not hold as many prestigious positions now as we held in the time of Reconstruciton.

I am not considering the numbers. If we dismiss the fact that we have grown so many times over, still we don't have those positions. We don't have one member in the Senate. We did have Brooks, but he is no longer in the Senate. Over 30 milliqn people, and we don't have one representati4 in the Senate. We have a poor share of the seats in Congress.
Many of us are fooled to think that our political situation is OK because you see a lot of preacher congressman — a lot of precinct captains — and you think because we have all these preachers around here we must be doing alright politically.

We're not doing alright politically. It's not the fault of the system, it's the fault of the community. The community of Bilalian people has not become sophisticated enough yet. We are not worldly sophisticated enough yet to really make the sacrifices necessary to compete with leadership outside of our race. These are the things that we have to face, these are the problems that we must look at, and we have to find answers for them.

I wouldn't talk if I didn't have answers. You should only talk when you have answers. Until you get answers you should listen and ask questions. I thank my parents for raising me that way.

Dear beloved Brothers and Sisters, I want now to mention another writer who is a Caucasian. This writer's name is Christopher Lasch. He has the book out now called "The Culture of Narcissism." In that book he also points out a very serious problem for the African-American people we call Bilalians.

He said in words — I'm using my words but you can get the book and read it for yourself —he says that black consciousness backfired on us; now the term "backfired" is my own term. When it came to me, I liked it so much that I said I've got to say "backfired," and I have to agree with him, it backfired on us; it backfired because it wasn't our pistol to start with. We picked up the white racist pistol and it back­fired on us.

If you study the history of African people, they've never had any black superiority complexes. They've never had black supremacy; not in the history as we know it. They have always been a people who respected the in­dividual for the individual's content, and never named themselves colors. They never named themselves black. It was the Caucasian that named them black.

African people named themselves after human characteristics; they named themselves after Divine characteristics, characteristics that they saw in human beings that they felt were a reflection of what was in God. They named themselves love; they named them­selves compassion; they named themselves worker; they named themselves names that had real social meaning. They didn't name themselves black, white, brown, yellow. We are talking about identity crisis.

Now look, dear people — I hope this clock is right because I only have an hour on the air —we're on WJPC and we take great pride in saying that WJPC belongs to a Bilalian.

Dear beloved Brothers and Sisters, we're talking about identity crisis — color. Look at the other races — they are called by color names too, but who gave them those color names? They didn't give them to themselves; Caucasians gave those color names to them.