AFRICAN-AMERICAN EXODUS (Part 3: A Response to a Young Black Man)
A person named “Sid” responded to the “African-American Exodus part 2.” He said:
Assalamu alaykum. As a 24 year old African American convert from Chicago, I agree a culture of ignorance has been promoted and permeates within the African American community. you are also correct that a large number of blacks like it that, but there are also a large number who want to do better and have done better. I for example am college and carry myself with self-respect and dignity. I think people must be judged on the individual merits of their character, even if the culture they have ascended from is unsavory. If we are going to judge based on culture we could judge Arabs since their countries have bred extremists and pushes Wahhabism. We could judge south Asians for the fact the Hindu caste systems has seeped into their culture. It is true that African American Muslims must rise above the culture of the black underclass, and many of us do. The same can be said for many Muslims around the world and their ignorant cultural practices.
My response (with some additions):
Wa `alaykumus-salaam, Sid,
I am happy to hear you are doing well for yourself. I TOTALLY agree with you, my Brother. On the Judgment Day, we will be judged by our own individual merits (or lack thereof). But the fact of human nature is that people will be judged by others according to the “tribe” and the culture that they apparently belong to.
Let me make myself clear: I am not saying that MOST black males are murderers or that all black people indulge in debauched lifestyles. The real issue at hand ARE THE TRENDS. The standards of behavior that are tolerated/accepted/promoted in the black community have clearly deteriorated in the past 50 years. Simply reflect on how the attitude towards homo-sickuality has been radically transformed in one generation. Just consider the practice that black people had of “sending away” their young daughters who became pregnant with illegitimate children. Black folk did this because of the stigma associated with out-of-wedlock pregnancy. This practice also served as a deterrent to others not to get knocked-up out of marriage. Nowadays, black folk hold baby showers for fornicatresses, and the single (never married) mother is touted as the epitome of the (allegedly) “strong woman” and the “pillar” of the black community.
This social dysfunction has largely come from the bottom up. You don’t find the black underclass imitating the (black) valedictorians graduating from elite colleges. Instead, you will find many of the black youth from solidly middle and upper middle class backgrounds imitating the goons on the street corner. The (allegedly) “authentic” black experience today isn’t embodied by the class of people that Martin Luther King or W.E.B. DuBois belonged to. The “authentic” black experience today belongs to pimps, strippers, rappers, and dope dealers.
The issue isn’t whether or not ALL black people—or even most black people—live such lifestyles. The issue is: given the current trajectory and degradation of black moral/social standards, will not pimpin’ and “ho-strollin’” just become a part of the mainstream black culture (as the tolerance and even defense of homo-sickuality has become)? The question is: Where is this thing going? As Muslims, should we not be able to anticipate these trends? And should we not enjoin the virtue and condemn vice?
African-Americans spend more time speaking out against those who are guilty of racial stereotyping than speaking out against those who ARE the racial stereotype. The stereotype of the ignorant, stupid, impulsive, violence prone, black thug is not a mere figment of the white America’s imagination. The body count in America’s inner cities clearly demonstrates that “stereotype” has a lot of reality to it.
Again, this is not to ignore influence of the media promoting this degenerate gutter “culture” (but then, if black folk are so concerned about how they are influenced by the media, then they shouldn’t watch TV or listen to music—that’s an easy no cost solution to media influence). Furthermore, there some real nasty institutions that make beau coup bucks off of black pathology (think: the prison industrial complex). But as we know, those who follow the purveyors of evil will not be excused for their behavior. The blame game won’t work on the Judgment Day. We all will be brought into account for what WE did. As for those who invite to evil, they will be in double jeopardy. They will be accountable for the sins they committed AND the sins of the ones who followed them in that evil… without lessening the sinfulness of the followers. This is the Justice of Allah.
It is pointless—and not manly—to keep asking people not to be racist against us. Remind folks that racism indicates a defect in the character and understanding, and that racism is an enormity. It was the arrogance and racism of Iblis (Satan) that led to the first incident of blasphemy. However, after offering the reminder and advice, we have to “keep it moving.” Get educated, have good manners, obey Allah, and focus on (humbly) surpassing others in doing virtuous deeds. Build families and institutions that reflect those values, and God-willing, people will find it difficult to be racist against us. This is our job. We need to role up our sleeves.
Also, if African-American Muslims develop a culture that is distinct from the black underclass, we can provide an ALTERNATIVE to those many black people (and other people) who are FED UP with what has become increasingly “black culture.” This can be, in-shaa’ Allah, our gift to black folk and to America.
As for other cultures being judged by their misfits and extremists, there is not a whole lot i can do for them—other than strive to educate people in the matters of the Religion. What we can do is demand higher standards from them—and from us. And it would be wise for us to take the initiative in this endeavor.