Sidetracked / Malcolm X
Mahmoud Andrade Ibrahim
A Civil War Blackamerican Officer was asked to record the history of Negro Soldiers during that war, Joseph T. Wilson ( 1836-1891 ) felt that he could not in good conscience discuss the Civil War without accurately demonstrating the participation of the African-American-Negroes in the Revolutionary War and the subsequent War of 1812.
From his DEDICATION of the book: The Black Phalanx -African American soldiers in the War of Independence, the War of 1812, and the Civil War, in honor of those Negro commanding officers with whom he was associated with and was witness to, he writes…
“….Your coming from the highest ranks of social life, undeterred by the prevailing spirit of caste prejudice, to take commands in the largest negro army ever enrolled beneath the flag of any civilized country, was in itself a brave act. The organization and disciplining of over two hundred thousand men, of a race that for more than two centuries had patiently borne the burdens of an unrequited bondage, for the maintenance of laws which had guaranteed to them neither rights nor protection, was indeed a magnificent undertaking.
You were outlawed by the decrees of Jefferson Davis, criticized by many friends at home, and contemptuously received by brother officers at headquarters, in the field, in the trenches, and at the mess table; yet, you did not waver in your fidelity to principle or in your heroic leadership of those whose valor was denied until it was proven in carnage and victory.”
Joseph T. Wilson published in 1904
There was a clarity of thinking back in 1968 when members of the Dar ul Islam Community (Dar ul Islam Movement 1962-1983) first entered my consciousness. It was on the heels of the assassination of Malcolm X with his bold descriptions of the power of Islam to transform America from a racist and segregated society into a more equal and just nation that took root in the souls of myself and many of my peers.
The Islam of Malcolm X was committed to the establishment of a level playing field on the American landscape in which opportunity and power were shared, white supremacist ideology was erased and justice for all of America's citizens was to become a reality.
The genius of Malcolm was that he was able to demystify the American political topography and present a comprehensive analysis of a very complicated system of subjugation in a language that did not alienate the common man. In the expression of the day, he ‘made it plain’.
“I am not a racist. I am against every form of racism and segregation, every form of discrimination. I believe in human beings, and that all human beings should be respected as such, regardless of their color.” — Malcolm X
The perpetual enemy of true American justice is ‘structural racism’ which is grounded in the ideology of white-supremacy. This enemy has been the target of people of good conscious since the early stirrings of this great nation. The great divide, the American Civil War was fought over it. This ideology is responsible for the inequity of goods and services that we are witness to on a daily basis. And while the enemy is fixed, the manifestations of his handiwork has proven to be of a most resilient nature. Shape-shifting is its strong suit. We have undergone the system of slavery for 400 yrs. with all of its ugly, horrible and degenerate details that are still not discussed in public forums. This idea and practice morphed into the institutionalization of the southern slave states. When America (click here) recognized that is was in its best interests to rid itself of the Slave states those same states morphed into what became known as Jim Crow states that implemented an obvious and undisguised hatred for black people in the form of the ‘black codes’ that was the legal framework used to regulate the day to day existence of black people.
During the 1960’s, after almost 100 yrs of humiliation by white southern racists, came of the death of Jim Crow. National black organizations celebrated the dawn of a new day. Little did they know that riding on the coat-tails of Jim Crow, white supremacy would morph once again into what is now known as Law and Order states that employ a ‘race-neutral’ legal language in order to target the same demographic, ie. Black and other minorities, with the stigma of criminality.
This concept of Law and Order has taken firm root all across America and is enhanced by funding from the federal government that aids in the ‘control’ of black lives with the use of helicopters, military grade weapons and armaments not to mention swat teams employed as the primary servers of city, state and federal warrants. With the change in the legal language also comes a change in category, the term freedmen, that was formerly used to distinguish black people who were not the property of a white owner, is applied now any Blackamerican that doesn’t have a criminal record and the term felon (slave) is used for anyone that does, and this is because along with the stigma of ‘criminality’ comes a life-long attachment to the ‘oversight ’mechanics of disenfranchisement. There are more black people under the thumb of the American Prison System today than were the total number of slaves in 1850. Meaning, there are more black people who cannot meaningfully participate in society than there were during the last 10 yrs of slavery. And a war was fought to change that dynamic.
We cannot allow ourselves to be sidetracked from the legacy of Malcolm X and those other Blackamerican luminaries who gave their life’s energies to improve the condition of our people. Those that consider themselves leaders in the BlackAmerican Muslim community must make more of an effort to dissect the systems of subjugation that plague the black community at large and of which they are a part. Blackamerican Muslim leadership must ‘make it plain’. Our children are not immunized from the predatory nature of the new Law and Order state and local police. Their ability to read and memorize the Qur'an in Arabic does not insulate them from racial profiling by these state soldiers. In many instances the simple ‘dress’ for Blackamerican muslim men makes them more of a target for police scrutiny. But being silent in the face of these potential dangers can only bring insurmountable harm to our community. The most egregious sin in this regard would be to think that simply because we are Muslim, we are somehow exempt from having the discussions of race in our community fearing that someone or some other groups will label our Islamic standing as doubtful. (click here)