Educational Concerns Of Imam Warithud Deen Mohammed
SEDALIA, NORTH CAROLINA
EDUCATIONAL CONCERNS OF
IMAM WARITH DEEN MOHAMMED
By Imam W. Deen Mohammed
Brother Imams, teachers, principals of Sister Clara Muhammed Schools, Muslims, As-Salaam-Alaikum. Praise be to Allah, Guardian Evolver, Cherisher and Sustainer of the worlds. I bear witness that nothing is worthy of worship except Him alone, and I bear witness that Muhammed is the messenger of Allah. Before going into the main concerns that I have for the Department of Education, I would like to mention efforts by individuals not Muslims, not members of the community, but have been very good efforts that I think can be study materials if not models in some sense for us. I begin with the old school of the community when we were called "Lost Found Nation of Islam" or "The Nation of Islam". That school, I think, was a school that attended the real needs or the most urgent needs in the African-American or Bilalian students, Bilalian children, and as I mentioned in one or two others, we'll be the connection between them. This land that we are on right now and the facility that we are in, the facilities that we are occupying that have been purchased for this community now and represents our own property, on this land was the Palmer Institute of Miss Charlotte Hawkins Brown I believe it is yes. And I have read recently the Xeroxed copy from an old Ebony Magazine on Mrs. Hawkins' works. What impressed me were the concerns for discipline in the life of those students that were fortunate enough to be accepted by Miss Brown she didn't accept just any student, they are carefully selected. And once they were selected, she gave them such a strict discipline that if they weren't serious I'm sure they couldn't have stayed long in her school. She insisted upon certain matters of behavior from the time that they entered until they left, from morning to night; they had to begin 6:00 in the morning following the disciplines and guidelines of their school for personal behavior for the whole conduct of that school. She taught the girls etiquette, proper etiquette, proper way of doing things, proper way of standing, proper way of sitting, proper way to walk, proper to speak, proper to speak when speaking with others. So she gave them a strict code of behavior that they had to conform to. And I think that that made for the success of that institute. I believe that's what accounted for the success of the Palmer Institute. It was concern she had for rigid code of obedience. We find that today in the public life, in the institutions as well, this is relaxed; and people think you are not conforming to what is proper now if you insist upon proper behavior, proper guidelines for personal behavior, personal conduct. We know that this element has come into the society to contain the masses of people in their own foolishness and ignorance. We know that the people who are allowing this kind of thing to become an epidemic in the society, they themselves don't live by that philosophy. They themselves live by a strict code of discipline. But they want the public to be disorganized; they want the public to be so-called free. What it means is care free. So I am impressed by what I have seen in the brief account of the Palmer Institute that was printed in the Ebony Magazine some years ago.
The community that we belong to have evolved from the Lost Found Nation of Islam more properly named, to be what it is today. And we have inherited the school of yesterday. The Clara Muhammed School used to be the University of Islam. We have inherited that school and in studying its history we find that there was really the same kind of emphasis put on personal behavior of the students. In Chicago, the students had to conform to a dress standard set by the school; they couldn't come in unclean, untidy, whatever the dress was for the students all the students had to wear that; there wasn't any room for differences of opinion. The tendency now is to differ just for the sake of differing. I'm talking about a time before this this is not today now, if you are of today you're out of touch with what we're talking about, you won't even understand what we are talking about. But those who have survived this new wave of insanity, we know the value of this, and society can't survive without it. So, here we find something that is very essential for us, and that is a serious spirit, a serious attitude in all of us. We don't have to become so serious that we become inhuman, or become mechanical or stone people, but a certain amount of seriousness is required if any people expect to make progress. And there is a tendency in us to be too, I would say, playful. I was trying to find a nicer word. A tendency in us to be too playful, we want to make fun out of everything. " What do we have to do? We have to remodel, we have to restore these properties." "Alright I know just the person to head the progress, oh, he's fun." So we pick a person to head the progress that's a lot of fun. "Oh, he gets along with everybody; he's fun, he's humorous, he's got a taste for humor, good humor." First we should look for the serious things. We look for the serious things, and then after you find the serious things, then see if you have any problems, any serious problems with the serious thing. First you look for the serious mind; you select the person for the serious mind, for the serious job. And then you look at that person to see if he has some serious problems, and if that person doesn't have any serious problems, that's the person for us. But don't look for the emotional person first; don't look for the person that everybody likes. That might not be the right person. Look for the person that best fits the job, serious business; and then hope that we can get him to smile occasionally. So I think that's something that we ought to value. We have inherited a school that emphasized strict discipline for its students and for its teachers; it had its own code of behavior, and we are Muslims, we haven't changed. In fact, we are more Muslims now than we ever were. So we are Muslims now in the true sense of the word, and we shouldn't think that the past is completely behind us, or completely separated from us. We haven't severed ourselves from our past; only from the things that are not usable, the things that are improper and not usable. Muslim discipline was perhaps reflected in the old days under the un-Islamic concept, more than it is reflected in some places where there is Islamic concept, but not the Islamic discipline or the Islamic code of behavior. So we should realize that and as we go about trying to improve our schools, our elementary and secondary schools, we should rid ourselves of that emotional sensitivity that we have from the past, where we either go to the extremes in trying to give credibility to something of the past or go to extremes in an effort to discredit the past. Both are harmful and both are equally harmful. If we have that kind of sensitivity where we have to spend time and energy trying to establish credibility for the old days, then we really are not ready for this. And if we have the other extreme where we have to go to the way out extreme to try to discredit the old, we are not ready for this. The person who is in today, he's in the present, he has no trouble recalling the past but he's not in the past that's the person that should be here today.
So we have some concerns. I'll just begin with the main concern and that is the sentimental hang ups that we have sometimes. We have to be serious. All over the world, we are known as a playful people. Believe me, the world won't tell you these things. They don't like to insult you to your face, but all over the world, Negroes, Black folks, African-Americans, Bilalians I have to use all of these names, because some of you don't know which one all over the world we are seen as a people who are just too playful, can't get down to serious business, can't hold a post for long. They say, we are starters but we can't finish anything. That's the reputation we've got all over the world. So we don't want that. The only way to get rid of that, we have to get that Hamitic strain out of our blood now we know we're not the children of Ham but the man said that and he must have selected just those who had that tendency in them when he was looking for slaves, I guess he just picked the ones that had the Hamitic strain "you look like you looks like I can support what I say on you." What am I talking about? I'm talking about the character Ham in the Bible. When Noah according to the Bible story, when Noah was seen in an embarrassed position some of his sons behaved intelligently, but one of his sons was simple minded and he laughed at his father's embarrassment. He's called Ham. And many of you know I know Dr. Shabazz knows many of you know that they have called us the children of Ham. And what they are saying is that we are a silly minded people, that we don't take things serious. We laugh at serious things. Wasn't that serious? Now wasn't that serious? Their father's embarrassed state. That shouldn't make any child laugh. But there was one child who laughed. Now, there are many of us who are just like that. We'll see our leader, we'll see Imam Shabazz in an embarrassing position and we will giggle. The one who is intelligent minded when he sees Dr. Shabazz in any embarrassing situation, he either turns his head or he'll do something to help Dr. Shabazz get himself back in shape. Right? Yes, and this is Islamic. Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) has taught us to be that way. So we have to get that playfulness out of us. We're too playful. Believe me, I hate to keep bringing this up, but as long as we give our ear to, hours and hours at a time, to records, and the music of this world, songs of this world, and give our eyes and ears to the television, to their programming you have to come out of the world that you want to rise above. There's no way to rise above a world if you are going to be under its influences. If you want to rise above that world you will have to come out of it. And I don't want to be equal to America. I want to rise above America. Those that rise above America can lead America. Those that want to be nothing but equal to America, they will never be leaders. And I'm talking about Americans. What President can lead America if he just wants to be equal to what he sees in America? The President that can really lead America is the President who wants to be above what he sees in America and he has something to offer. He has leadership to offer. We should think that way. We should always think big. Think bigger than the thing you are dissatisfied with, then you can surmount it. That's the only way. These are my concerns. You probably want to hear me say how much money we're going to spend on erasures and chalk and how much notebook paper each student can have, and all that, you know.
What will protect us from the tendency to be taken off course by emotionalism or sentimental influences? When we identify in this religion and the Qur'an in this religion, when we identify what is proper behavior for a Muslim and we insist that all Muslims I don't care if he is a person who just walked in the door, or if he's the one who sells eggs to us, who brings our eggs to the home, or the one who runs the school, who teaches our children, or the Imam of the Masjid, or a Council member I don't care who he is, we should insist that all of us conform to what is proper for a Muslim in terms of behavior. And we should insist. I say, we should insist. Insist means that we should use our collective voice to bring down any one that's destroying or hurting the image of this community. That's right. So actually we don't have a philosophy. Our guidance is the teaching of the Qur'an. But if we would select certain principles of behavior understand that behavior covers more than just how you move physically or how you move morally. Behavior also covers how you think. Muslims have their own way of thinking. And if you are behaving wrongly it's because you are thinking wrongly most likely. So we have to establish what is proper Muslim behavior and it should begin with a rational that holds for us the belief and outlooks of Muslims. The belief and outlook of the Muslims. Because this world is writing philosophies for us. This world is establishing principles for us to believe in, ideas for us to believe in. And then this world is establishing viewpoints for us. They have established a way that we are to look at reality, ourselves and the external world. But we can't buy that from the world. We can't introduce the philosophy of the western society into our school, we won't be Muslims anymore. I wonder if we understand that? I don't believe that many of us, our teachers understand that because in Chicago I see un-Islamic teachers wearing Muslim names, and pretending to be Muslim teachers, and they are not at all Muslim teachers because Muslim principles are not established in them in the first place, and they don't have a Muslim outlook, they don't have a Muslim viewpoint. They don't have a Muslim outlook on the world. They don't have that. So the heavy responsibility of the Muslim educators in this community is the responsibility to extract from the Qur'an, and from the life of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) the proper idea, the proper ideology, the proper way to look at the external world of reality, and the proper way to approach whatever you have to approach. So this is no small job, this is a big job. And the average one of us, we want something quick and easy. This is nothing new, this is no new discovery. God said that when He offered a great responsibility to the creatures, the angels, man rushed up, "I'll take this responsibility, I'll do it God, I'll watch over the universe for You." And God says, "Surely he is hasty." He didn't know what he was asking for; Oh, he's hasty. But look at the wisdom of Allah, look at the wisdom of Allah. Who did Allah select? The one that said, "no, God, it's too much for us," or the one that was cocky and ran up and said, "I'm ready, I'd like to do that." He selected the one that was cocky, he gave him the responsibility. So that tells us something. When it comes to choosing between a cocky person or an overly confident person, and a person that is not willing to make a decision to do anything, you choose the cocky person. We don't want to lose the focus and think that we are not supposed to look for the aggressive, active, aggressive people; we are. We are to look for the active, energetic, aggressive people. But we have to be aware that all of us are human and we are subject to being a little bit big-headed. And we conceive ourselves to be bigger than we are sometimes and God says you know, you're a little cocky but He wants us anyway. In time he knows we'll season down after that weight gets on the back. Allah says, just wait, just wait awhile, say don't bother him now, just let the world rest on his back, after awhile he'll stop being so hasty.
Two things that I have tried to bring to our attention today is the need to stick to our own knowledge and the need to select personalities who can best represent that knowledge.
Secondly, we have to value physical property. We know that we have a long history for neglecting physical property, material property, assets. Our religion is a religion that if you study it, if you will give your mind to our religion, you will come away from that mind of the old days, the slavish mind. It's not just a slavish mind; the problem is bigger than that. You know, they say a person who will hurt themselves just to hurt somebody else, they say he cuts off his nose to spite his face. We'll that same kind of principle, or same kind of idea, can be seen working in a whole race. A race that will unconsciously neglect material concerns but subconsciously what is happening; subconsciously they are still rebelling against the white man. Now I hope you can understand. Most of you all are teachers here; most of you will understand right away what I'm talking about. But some of us, our minds haven't been thinking on this. We have to bring our minds to think on these things and then all of us can see it. It's nothing complicated. If I am forced to keep us, keep your house, but you reject me, you speak down to me, I'm inferior, I'm dirt in your eyes but now you will force me because you have power and possession of me, you forced me to keep up your property; you don't even think I'm even qualified to own something; but you force me to keep up your property. All of this registers on the man, registers in the conscience, the sub-conscience if not in the conscience. So even the best slaves, I'm sure that most of the best slaves rebelled unconsciously against this thing that the white man did to us. Among you are those that think it is wrong for you to bring up the white man "don't do that." How can you lead this community if you are so tender or so subject to behave wrongly if somebody brings up the facts. The facts are there, it's a reality and if we don't bring it out here Roots will bring it out. If Roots doesn't bring it out something else will bring it out. Now are we going to be so delicate that we can't even mention that the white man was a son-of-a bitch yesterday? A bunch of son-of-a-bitches and everything else? Now, if we can't even mention, if we can't even think back on the thing (without) "Oh, be careful, he will start wrong vibrations." We've got to be strong enough to lead the community. And to be strong enough to lead the community, you've got to be strong enough to deal with anything in your past, present, or in the future. So this attitude that we have, the disrespect that we have for property, it is something that has been compounded by the plantation or in the plantation situation. The plantation situation has made now I'm sure that many of us came from Africa with a tendency to disrespect, a tendency not to give property its due respect. I'm not saying we came here all of us came here perfect. If you go all over the world you'll find these same deficiencies in people all around the world white, yellow, red, all people have these deficiencies. But in us it seems that these deficiencies have been fed and bred. We know that's a fact. We know that the Western that America has fed our deficiencies in order to contain us on an inferior level so that they could master us and never have to fear us competing with them for leadership and rule. We know that. Alright, now in order to get us back on the right path in terms of the proper respect that we should give to physical properties, this is necessary, and I was saying as we were coming in here, I hope I don't talk too long. When we were coming over to the building, I said it is a wonderful feeling to be on land, property that is ours. That's a wonderful feeling. Material achievement, material gain, is a psychological necessity. Yes, your soul needs psychology refers to the nature of the soul your soul needs this. And the proof of it is being on our own property, and knowing that it's not just that wall here, if it was just here it would be nice, but we know that it is out there too. That building there, too; that building back behind there too. It goes for about forty acres. And now we got mules, sheep, goat, camels. We are almost ready for that Mercedes, and Cadillac, and etc. Almost! It's a wonderful feeling. But we have to make a special effort in designing the courses in our school for the children. A special effort to attend these deficiencies. We just can't ignore these and say "Oh well we are just like anybody else." No we are not! We have special personalities, we have special problems and special assets, and we have to remember all of that. In many ways, we are superior to the white man. Believe me, in many ways; slavery and hardship in this country in many ways have made us excel the average white man in this country. So we have to be able to identify in what ways have hardship given us superior attributes, and then identify those deficiencies too, that that past condition, and present condition, it is still lingering in some of us, has bred into us. Identify all of this, and then study those attitudes in the personality and when we design courses for our students, we shouldn't ignore that. We should make an effort in the course to address these things. Build on the strength. Making intelligent analysis of the situation of inferiority, and then come up with right recommendations. You all can do this. The Educators in this community can do this. And don't go out there and look for no psychology book or no social behavior book in the library. You lock yourself up; throw out all their books, only use a dictionary. Only use a book that will give you terminology if you don't know it, the meaning, the meaning of the term if you don't know it. But don't use any book that suggests a philosophy or suggests a principle, or suggests a way of behaving or psychology or something. No, just reject it all and take your Qur'an, and take what we have in this community, and sit down and lock the door, and say that there is a strong temptation to pick up a white man and then lean on him. So to avoid that, we are going to keep all of their literature out and everything while we design the course we should take.
If we can bring back healthy respect for property, we will do a service for this country because this weakness in people, ignorance in people now has spread. It has overflowed from us, and the society is now letting everybody just go wild and free without guidance and without knowledge, and you will find that this is no more a characteristic peculiar to us now. You will find the Hispanics, you will find the white racists, the European racists, you will find all of them silly minded, don't value anything anymore, just want to be happy, want to have fun, but they can't maintain life, they can't hold wealth if you give it to them. So this is an American problem now. A problem for the whole western world, perhaps the whole world. So since we were the first victims of it, then it would be really beautiful if we would come up with an educational program for attending this problem in the schools, and getting rid of it, taking it out of the students. The way to get respect back is simply to get the direction or the idea, or the philosophy from the Qur'anic teachings. Allah says that, "He has created everything in pairs", A student of the Qur'an, or a scholar in this religion, if he was here, and we have one here, in fact we have more than one, we have plenty of them here, they will tell you that this idea in the Qur'an, that He created everything in pairs, does not just mean us, male and female. It means the nature, the constitution of matter itself. That in the very constitution of matter itself, everything works on the principle of duality, duality. And what does He say? He said, "Every pair noble, honorable" (Kareem). Deserving respect. That's what it means. That everything that He has created operating in pairs deserves respect. This wall deserves respect by the Qur'anic teaching. The earth deserves respect. The agricultural life deserves respect. Whatever fashions out of the natural world it deserves respect. That is, if it is useful to humanity. If it is still serving the purpose that God designed it. So it deserves respect. So we should include this principle in the teaching of our children. We should tell them that Allah requires you to respect Creation. And if that child is a Muslim, it's natural for him. He naturally grows up respecting all Creation. So he will be a better student, he will be a more aggressive student; he will be motivated in the right way. He will be attracted to the sciences better. Because when you have a high respect or high idea of the material field then there is more urge, there is more of an inclination to go out and explore it. See, that's and enticement, that's an invitation to get involved in the material world to explore it. So these ideas are super. That's what we have to understand. The psychology for making life better is not in public schools! It's not in their universities! It's in your Qur'an!
They are busting their brains out trying to find out how to motivate the students. How to motivate him because the only way they motivate him the thing that they rely upon for motivating the child is what's "in" today. Whatever is "in" today that's what they have to motivate the child with. So when the whole world has gotten full on what's "in" today, it can't motivate them anymore. So they have to wait until they create new interests to motivate people. So now they have made everybody a ward of the mental institution. Everybody has a mental problem now. How to motivate him? He's got a mental problem. You don't have to motivate something that doesn't have a mental problem. That's what they are admitting. Any time they say we have to come up with ways to motivate our students, the Western school system, the public school system; they are saying that we have a mental problem in our students. Have to think of ways to motivate them. Why do they have to think of ways to motivate him? Life out there, it doesn't need motivating. The animals, the cat, rat, dog, whatever it is, it doesn't need any motivation. You just leave it along, it's naturally motivated. Right? Okay, can you imagine the first man on this earth needing motivation? I can't imagine the first man on the earth needing motivation. But we need to motivate people. Motivate him; give him a reason for living. So we have to understand the problems of the West and we have to see the West as it is. The West is problematic. It is psychotic. We have to see it like it is. As long as you look up to this world, you will always be under it. But any time you can latch on to the Qur'an and see its superiority, then you stand above this world. Stand above it. And that's the only way you can help it. You want to help this world? I know most of you want to help America. I know that. You want to help America, I do too. You think I want to hurt America? This is my home. My ancestors lived in Africa, but this is my home, America. United States of America, this state and all the rest of even Hawaii. When I went to Hawaii way over there, I said "Is this my state too? I've been flying all night and day and you tell me this is my state too?" I remembered it is one of the biggest states, so right away I accepted it. This is my state. So don't think that because I'm a Muslim and because I see God's knowledge above the world's knowledge that I'm not American, that I'm not patriotic. I am, perhaps more than most Americans. But I am critical too. And that's what made America great. It was people, pioneers who had a higher vision. They had a bigger vision than the present state that they were in. So they were able to lead their country, their people and their nation into greater life. Now if we have the same vision that the world has, we'll never be leaders. We have to be like those pioneering Americans whose vision was bigger than England, bigger than the old world. Whose vision was bigger than the reality that they were in at that time; bigger than the 13 colonies. They are the ones who advanced this country. The most important concern that I have is the concern for your mind.
The most important concern that I have is the concern for your mind because we are children of slaves. We are affected by it. We still carry the after effects of slavery plantation life in just being the subordinate all the time. That's right. We carry the effects of that. Some of us over-react to it and we exalt in our own small-mindedness; we want to take ourselves out of the world and be some separate god or some superior being, we're bigger than America, we're bigger than everything (end side one) .but let anyone bring anything from the white man and right away: "genuine, genuine, that's genuine, the Iman ought to include that in the curriculum." So we want to be aware of that.
The current concern is for number one the mind, because our mind has been intimidated, our mind has been crushed; our mind has been made to fear to express itself. "Oh, if I express what's on my mind they're going to laugh at me." Aren't we intimidated like that? Some of us have a great idea, the answer, the medicine for the ill; but we're so shy "well, I don't have Plato, I don't have Kant, I don't have Aristotle, I don't have any of the Western authorities to support this idea. So if I say this they will laugh at me." We have to get out of that.
Getting back to the property, in Chicago, I knew as a child, I didn't have any problem living in the properties of the Lost Found Nation of Islam, or living on the property of the Lost Found Nation of Islam. I didn't have any problem. You would never find me, or any child with my mind, writing Graffiti or defacing the property, or doing anything to diminish the beauty and value of our property. You didn't find me or anybody with my mind boys, girls alike. Why? Because over and over again we were told that this is yours. The problem that we have inherited, I call it the plantation ghost that'' still in us. It isn't no ghost, it's a spirit. It's a real spirit. The problem of the past is in us. It's the neighbor's property not the white man's, the neighbor's property. The same kind of hate comes up in us when we see the neighbors get a new house, or the neighbors get a new car, that I imagine came up in us when the white man said, "go out and shine up my new buggy, go wipe my mule down and shine up my buggy, hey, boy, go wipe my mule down wipe my horse down and shine up my buggy." And I imagine that we had to say yes, yes and I imagine that hate was just coming up all in us 'yes, yes, Sir, Master, yes, yes.' Because he said we weren't supposed to have those things and was making us take care of his, keep his up, keep his looking nice. So the neighbor moves next door now not a white person, this is us and they have a nice pretty house. Had the white man moved next door it would be better they say, "Wow, we've got a white neighbor." Cause that means that the white man is accepting you if he can stay next door. And they will tell you in psychology that one of the heaviest strains on the mind of an individual is the one produced by isolation, rejection, etc. That's right. So they know the psychology. They know that your nature wants to get rid of that strain. You don't see a way to improve yourself, to convince him that you are acceptable, or a way to get in by force, so anything that represents the end to this problem is a great relief. So you are so happy that the white man moved next door "They aren't any fools, they know Negroes, and they know we stay here. This is a fine neighborhood, all you have to do is keep up your property, and you won't have a problem, the white man lives next door." The Black man moves next door and you want to kill him. You want to kill him, especially if he's got something nice. And don't let him buy something new. Oh, the hate comes up. Why? Because we have been shut out of those things. You were shut out of those things. Now, two things are working if the Black one moves next door. If the Black one moves next door he doesn't help your situation. You need to be accepted, not by him but by the white man. So, if he moves next door it doesn't help your situation. If the white man moves next door then that helps your situation because that means you are accepted by white folks. Now, that's one thing that's operating. But there is something else that's operating. You were shut out and you have been conditioned by white man in his psychology to compete with each other: for freedom, for escape, for achievement, etc. So you have been conditioned to compete with each other. It's just a "natural" impulse in us to fight the ones that seem to be making it. Deep down within you the white man has another you in there and that other you in there is saying, "he has no right to have that, I don't have it." Do you know the white man used to put Bilalian fighters against each other just for sport? And the one that put on the good battle, he would favor that one, give him and advantage over the one that lost. So right in that the instinct to beat each other up for a better image in the white man's world was created. Yes, this is history. This can be documented. This is documented; I just don't have the material. This is already documented, that the white man on the plantation and also in the north used to pit the black man against the black man for sport. Now, he did this also on a community scale too. But for sport he would actually pit two people against each other, black, same race; pit them against each other for sport and they would laugh, and cheer, grinning and everything and they would give the one who won the more recognition than the loser. On a community level they were doing the same thing. They would create sensitivities in the Black communities to set the Black community against itself. And when their side won, they would come in and reward their side and punish the side that they didn't approve of. They are still doing they are still doing that. With this happening above our heads, over generations, now we have a tendency in ourselves to just automatically strike another Bilalian. And when it comes to people who are right, it's automatic for wrong people to want to get them out of their face, get them out of their conscience. So the person that represents right they like to tell them to leave, go away. If he won't leave or go away he wants to kill him, do anything to get him out of their conscience. Because he's a discomfort in their conscience. He represents what they should be growing towards and their nature tells them that they should be growing towards that. But that worldly mind tells them that that's too uncomfortable for me, it's too difficult for me to grow towards that. So the worldly mind has to destroy the presence of that thing so that it can relax. So the worldly mind says reject it, condemn it, rationalize rationalize means reason falsely. Rationalize can mean reason correctly, but rationalize also means in fact, rationalization is a negative word there more than a positive rationalize him into a position where you can do evil to him. So you will take a good man, a good idea, a good person, and you will rationalize that until you can put him into a position where you can do evil to him, you can condemn him, where you can say, "he's wrong, he's the trouble maker, he's trying to destroy the order of society, he's un-American." So we have to understand all of these tendencies in us in order to survive and make progress for our own lot. You ought to take note of what the Chinese and what the Asians are doing. The Asians are coming into this country, they are establishing themselves. By that I mean they are bringing their culture with them. They are living in their American homes the same way they lived in Asia. They eat the same way, they pray the same way, they are living the same life they were living in Asia. But now they are in America and they are Americans. And what we have to understand as educators, brothers and sisters, is that America welcomes that. In fact, America is that. America means an opportunity for you to bring your life from one part of the world to this part, and keep your same life and grow in a new world. America represents a new opportunity a new horizon, a new destiny for man. Now, we think differently over here we think that people are going to call us prejudice if we put emphasis on retaining our own African-American identity. "Oh, they'll think we're prejudice. We don't want to put any importance on ethnic pride or Bilalian ethnicity that will set us apart from the rest of America." What has set you apart from the rest of America is the fact that you are not an American and you are not an American because you don't represent anything unique. You don't have an identity. You don't have an identity. The other people have an identity. The other people have human personality; a human personality that has been born or formed in an ethnic personality. An ethnic personality that has been formed or born out of an ideology, a way of conceiving the world of reality; and you don't have that. We just buy what the white man filters into our heads over the wires or through the airwaves.
Brothers and sisters, what am I doing this for let us get down to the business of the program. This is the business. I know many of us are misguided because of our sensitivities. We are good people, but our sensitivities have us mislead. So I think that it is worthwhile for me to take the time and dwell on these things in order to get just one more, two more, or sixty more to make the turn. Because really the future of our children depends on our ability to step up out of the muck and mire of America's ideas and walk on to an idea of our own. And in this interest, brothers and sisters, I insist that we don't let any Arab, Pakistani, Egyptian, I don't care what he is, don't let nobody come over here and be the idol. Nobody should come from out of this community and be the personality, be the reference "Oh, I'm Mr. Shoo Shoo Sheikh _____, he's our reference." No. No. You seek Imam W. D. Muhammed as your reference. If I fall dead right now, you look for one that came up like I did. Where is one that doesn't follow Sheikh, doesn't follow anybody else but this idea? (Tell him) "Come on Imam, you've got to take Imam Warith Deen Muhammed's place." That's a need that we have inherited from the souls of our ancestors. This country took away from us the dignity of the people, and we can't have that dignity if we are going to have other people over us. Now, many of us (say) "Oh, that's not democratic. If any other person qualifies we should accept that person." Yes, if they qualify, I agree with you. But number one in the qualification is that you be part of this natural growth in America. If you are not, we can't identify with you. No indeed. Because we are a people growing into what we are. We are not yet that. We are growing into that. And we don't want nobody that has grown into an Italian form, or into a Greek form, or a Turkish form, or an Egyptian form, it will be a terrible conflict. Once we have brown into our own form as a people "okay Mr., you have the qualifications, step right up, be our leader, `cause we're going to hold you accountable, you bastard, you had better not make a mistake." But now we are too far from the destiny that we ourselves have to grow into, to allow some foreign element to come and stand over us. Because we'll be influenced, we are like fresh clay; we'll be too easily influenced. Wait until after we have established ourselves, and have recognition in Egypt, in Africa, and all over the world, in Asia, and all over the world, recognition for having established our own personality as a people. When we have gained that then we will be like any other community. But until then we are a peculiar people under the eyes of the Lord.
So these are our concerns. Dear beloved people, getting more at home now, or coming closer to the real problems that you are concerned with as educators in the community. That is, curriculum and teaching, or teachers qualifications, I'll just have a few words to say. And what I'm saying now should be supported by what I have said before, what I have said so far.
One of the main concerns I have for subject, subject matter and teaching methods is that emphasis be put more on what is needed that on just what is available. There are so many available. There are so many subjects out there, and so much knowledge out there. There are oceans of knowledge out there available. If we don't have our own specific needs in mind, then forming curriculum, and setting guidelines for courses, lessons, subjects, etc. will become a problem too big for us to tackle. What are our real needs? Now, I said in Oakland that one of the major problems we have is full qualification for the job market. We are not qualified for the job market. And we know the job market is now constantly changing. The thing that was effective yesterday may not be effective today. Now demands are coming in and changing the qualifications or the needs in the job market. We have to study that, be in touch with that trend. And I think if we concentrate on that on being practical. You know what benefited me most in mathematics, the practical mathematics the practical arithmetic. All that academics, high language, fancy talk, I found that when I went out there to try to feed Shirley, myself, it didn't have much importance anymore. The man would say, "But can you?" I was used to telling what the principle is, the theory is, and I was never asked to do it. No sucker ever said "can you" before, they just asked me could I recite. "Can you recite your six times tables?" Now this man was asking me could I apply this in a different situation that meant something to the human life and what it has to be. So when he said that, I had to stop and think. So I said, just a minute now, I said what you do is just keep my application and I'm going back and get me some books, and I'll be back, I'll take the test again. And I went and I got me some books on sharp mathematics, I got me some books on sharp arithmetic, and you know it is different. The other mathematics said that seven times seven is forty-nine. The sharp mathematics said that seven pounds times seven pounds is forty-nine pounds. It was different you know. One book said six times six is thirty-six square six square. And the sharp mathematics said we need thirty-six square feet of linoleum to cover this area. It was different you see. So I think we shouldn't just give don't even give children tables like: one times one is one, three times two is six; no, tell them that three dollars times three dollars. What I'm saying is that the psychology should be to eliminate the abstract from the world of reality as much as possible. That's right. Let them work with figures that have connections with things that they have to use, things that they have in their own life. Don't waste their time with just reciting numbers. Don't introduce even pictures into the room that have no connection with the real facts of life. Don't just bring in a dog; if you bring in a dog say "are you going to be an animal doctor, here's the dog, this is a dog, he's such and such, he catches this disease, he catches that disease, look at his features, etc." You don't have to say here's a dog, pretty little dog. When he goes outside he'll see that, that's a pretty little dog. So this is criticizing the white man's mentality. And that is what you are going to have to do if you want to rise, criticize his mentality. This is a dog. The child has been calling this thing a dog for three years; they got one at home. And you set up there telling them to draw a dog, d-o-g- dog; give me a cat, c-a-t- cat. That's not enough. Now, if you are teaching them how to talk, you don't have to do anything but just put that up there; put the picture of the cat, say c-a-t, what does that word say; look at that picture and tell me what that word says. So he says, "Cat." But if I say, "see the doggie, that's a doggie, d-o-g- dog," the child four or five years old is laughing inside: "They think I don't even know how to recognize a dog."
So what I want to emphasize is common sense. There is a great lawyer a great lawyer. This lawyer was on television, on the news, he was such a great lawyer, I'm sorry I can't call his name, often I think back on this and I can't recall that attorney's name, he is one of the leading or the second in the whole world, maybe the first, but I know if not first he was the second in the whole world. They were asking him what did he think was making him so much more successful in court than other attorneys. He said that "Most of my adversaries," he said, "they stick to the book, they follow the letter," he said, "I also use common sense." Now, that's the top of [?] the man second to the top in the whole world and he is stressing the value of common sense. You want to see the biggest fools in the world? The ones with a whole lot of PhD's etc. and no common sense the biggest fool on earth. Some of you will say, well he couldn't get those degrees if he didn't have common sense. That's what you think. This establishment doesn't want you to have common sense. They make an effort in the college to deprive you of your common sense, the use of your common sense. They say you can have one or the other: common sense is your left leg and academia is your right, which one do you want, make your choice. You say, can't I have both of them? They say, no there aren't no two legged people walking in the West; so you make your choice, either common sense or academia. They don't say that to you like that. But the admission examination and everything, your qualifications and everything, they are saying that I chose academia over common sense. And when you say that, they say "welcome into the club."
Brothers and sisters, all the forces should emphasize the practical use of knowledge. The social sciences, whatever, they should relate to the job of living day-by-day. They used to teach music and tie music in with natural needs in the life of human beings. Whatever you teach, it should be tied in. This is Al-Islam, this is the requirement in the religion. It is to establish human basis, practical basis for everything.
Lastly now, Islamic studies. Some of us, I think, a good Muslims but because we are not qualified in Islamic Studies, not qualified in Arabic, not qualified in Islamic History, etc. we are afraid of it; we don't want anybody else to become qualified. This is another plantation spirit; we've got to get away from that. In fact, the community can't tolerate that, not if they are going to accept my leadership. I'm a man, when it comes to certain things, I don't compromise at all. And believe me, if I can't win I'll leave you, I'll go somewhere else. And I mean that. So there are certain things that we just can't sacrifice, that we just can't compromise on. And I think this community now is ready for real Islamic Studies program. We want to learn Arabic, we want to learn the history of Prophet Muhammed (pbuh) of his companions, we want to study the Qur'an, we want to learn it, we want this to be an Islamic community. So if you have the sensitivity that I'm referring to now where you fear that a person with that knowledge is going to be a threat to your image, then you have to realize that that sensitivity from the slavish life, that's another plantation spirit that is alien to your real life and nature. And nobody likes aliens. They don't mind a foreigner, but if he is an alien they don't want him. Foreign just means different, but alien means that he likes to be alienated or he likes to alienate. That's something nobody likes. So let us be strong, that's all I can say. You'll just have to be strong. You have to be strong enough to walk away from a piece of yourself and say, that's me, but this dignified object that I'm after is too big to carry that part of me with me, and just drop it and leave it behind.
So you all who are working on Islamic Curriculum and interested in Islamic (study) please support what we want, and do your best to make Islamic education available to us all members of this community. So thank you very much. Now I will let Dr. Shabazz and the rest of the people talk on the rest of our concerns, like money and where we are going to get it from, and how big the job is and how much money it is going to call for, about getting better qualified teachers in the classrooms from our own community, if we are as smart as we say we are, we can take a sincere person in this community and make them better qualified than the ones we can get out.