Passionate leader rallies African-American pride

Mike Wereschagin

Dr. Khallid Abdul Muhammad did not come to the Sabathani Community Center on Monday night to make life easier on anyone, especially not anyone white.
He came, instead, to mobilize the African-American community and bring his brethren to their feet.
Muhammad, former assistant to Minister Louis Farrakhan and current leader of the New Black Panther Party, presented a lecture titled, “The Role and Responsibility of the Black Student in Preparation for the 21st Century,” to a nearly all-black audience of about 70.
“I came here to speak the truth,” Muhammad said. “I did not come here to make friends.”
He brandished that truth like a sword, shredding the doctrines and practices of “white America” with language designed to engage, enrage and inspire the three generations of African-Americans represented in the audience.
Muhammad made no attempt to sugarcoat his opinions of white people, occasionally equating white men with the devil and chastising black men for dating white women. But he did give them fair warning soon after he began speaking.
“I see a few whites in the audience,” Muhammad said. “I have to say to you right now, it’s going to be a rough ride, buddy. So buckle your seat belts.”
Most of his impassioned speech centered on mobilizing members of the African-American community to unify and better themselves.
One of the great stumbling blocks to this is education in the United States, Muhammad said.
The Eurocentric history and culture taught in public schools is robbing African-Americans of their heritage and their pride, he said.
Muhammad harshly criticized those who propose busing or school vouchers as solutions to public-education dilemmas.
“What is wrong with you?” he shouted. “Don’t you know that this experiment has been going on since 1954?”
The reason the problem persists, Muhammad said, is “white institutional prejudice,” which, in some cases, is worse today than during the 1950s.
“When we were openly segregated, we didn’t graduate functional illiterates to the degree that we do today,” he said.
The problem lies in the fundamental Eurocentrism and racism which, Muhammad said, permeates all levels of education.
“No oppressor will teach the oppressed how to break free,” he said.
By not teaching history from an African perspective and highlighting the achievements and innovations of Africans, whites are denying blacks from having pride in themselves, Muhammad said. In fact, the founders of all the major sciences — including medicine, physics, math and others — were Africans, he added.
To combat this, Muhammad urged African-American youth to avoid “foolish courses” and get a degree in something that will benefit black communities.
“If you’re going to be a psychologist, be a black psychologist,” he said. “Whatever you’re going to be, be a revolutionary. We need each and every one of you to lift our nation up.”
He also urged serious scrutiny of the media, saying rap and movies give African-Americans such a low image of themselves that they resort to violence against each other.
“You’re killing your brothers,” he shouted at the audience. “You are taught to hate yourself so much, you’re killing yourselves.
“Wake up, clean up and stand up.”

Mike Wereschagin welcomes comments at [email protected] He can also be reached at (612) 627-4070 x3226.