The US Supreme Court recently ruled that White firemen were unreasonable denied promotions in New Haven, CT when tests were set aside for promotions because they adversely excluded Blacks from promotions due to generally lower test scores.
The ruling was a victory for those who view affirmative action as “reverse discrimination” or “reverse racism” though many of them perhaps are unaware of the reality of historical White privilege in America, or perhaps they are aware and desire to maintain their privilege.
The question must be asked among Black Americans is has the collective condition of Black America improved since affirmative action has been instituted? If not, then why?
Though there are more Black professionals than 50 years ago, it appears that the condition of Black America is in worse shape currently.
My father told me that he was trained that if you want to get ahead, you need to work twice as hard as White people. This mentality bred supermen and superwomen in the Black community. This mindset linked one’s striving for excellence in both personal and community sense and not waiting for any special breaks as the primary path towards success. This is an Islamic teaching.
G-d does not change a condition of a people until they bring about change their inner-selves/psyches. [Al-Qur’an 13.11]
Is there a reward for excellence except excellence? [Al-Qur’an 55.60]
“Surely G-d loves that when a servant [of His] endeavors anything, he seeks to perfect it,” said the Prophet Muhamamd.
The Qur’an speaks of two forms of oppression that should be challenged, which are outward and inward. There is no doubt that the residual effects of slavery and White supremacy still manifest themselves in the American socio-political order despite our having a Black president in this mythical age of “post-racialism.” However, what troubles Black America most today is internal oppression, not external. As long as Black activists and preachers focus more attention on preserving the status quo such as affirmative action or requesting reparations than addressing what Dr. Na’im Akbar has labeled our collective “insanity”, no amount of legislation in the world can help Black America. This is where Muslims need exemplify leadership in Black America.
The mystics have a saying, “Whoever knows himself, as most certainly known his Lord.” Meaning that if a person examines himself sincerely, he/she should come to some conclusion. He/she should conclude the following:
1. I am not infallible
2. My best independent thinking in many instances has not led me to successful results.
3. I am beneath He who created me.
4. I must depend on His guidance for success in this world and in the next life.
Thus, Muslims, who understand this concept, need to be at the forefront in challenging the collective social norms within Black America through raising awareness and presenting an alternative modality to what is generally viewed as normative.
This alternative modality, despite some of its theological flaws, was presented during the lifetime of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad while he led the Nation of Islam (NOI). The NOI exhibited a viable alternative to Black morality and ethics, which addressed many of the issues that plague a large percentage of Blacks.
Al-Islam has the answer to fixing the pervasive nature of out of wedlock child births (currently 7 out of 10 Black children) and the serve as a shield from commercialism, gross materialism and anti-social aspects within pop culture, which helps fuel this pathological. Al-Islam has socio-political measures to bring Black America out of economic and political immaturity within the American democracy to raise her up to par and above what is deemed as productive.
It is Muslims who have to step forward and led by example to serve as an alternative mind to what intrinsically unacceptable in man’s nature (Al-Fitrah).
Without intense internal repair within the Black psyche, affirmative action can not further raise up the educational and economic opportunities for Blacks in a meaningful way. The incarnation rates will increase, drug abuse will increase, and depravity will increase for the masses while some will thrive.