THE HACKLEY REPORT By Eric Hackley
Eric Hackley: I would like for you to give us some personal insights into the taboo subject of white supremacy, a concept that’s hardly ever discussed openly in the Fort Wayne black Community.
Hakim Muhammad: When looking at the system of white supremacy, I always refer back to a book written by Dr. Frances Cress Welsing, called the Isis Papers. She breaks white supremacy down on a psychological level to where it ties into white genetic survival and their keeping a dominant place in the world. Dr. Welsing suggests that it exists in all facets of human activity, including economics, education, entertainment, labor, law, politics, religion, sex and war. Actually you can see the residue being played out among darker skinned people. When you have a system of white supremacy, you have a synonymous inferiority complex programmed into the black mindset. Historically speaking, it’s always light against dark as represented in the Willie Lynch letter. Actually some studies have been done that show light skinned blacks make more money than dark skinned blacks even though they have the same level of education. Neely Fuller Jr. who inspired the personal enlightenment of Dr. Welsing said, “If you do not understand white supremacy (racism) – what it is and how it works – everything else you know will only confuse you.”
I was recently watching Washington Watch with Roland Martin as he was talking about a study on the high infant mortality among African American women in this country. One would assume that this would be due to socioeconomic factors. A black woman from the ghetto and being in poverty could perhaps have something to do with it. But they actually did a study across the board where the incomes and education were similar among the studied black and white women. It was shown that black women still had a significantly higher infant mortality rate compared to other ethnic groups across the country and across the world.
In terms of how white supremacy confuses or retards our black Community shows itself through our lack of unity. The Honorable Louis Farrakhan once said, “if you have unity among blacks, you could basically solve over 95% of our problems overnight.”
EH: America celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation recently and blacks are fighting many of the same battles from the Jim Crow era and we seem to not realize it.
Hakim Muhammad: The reason for that is the lack of knowledge of self and black history. When you have a lack of understanding of history, it is said that you’re doomed to repeat it and we are. So with knowledge of self, you will break the cycle of black inferiority. In having a more true understanding of history, we will be guided to make better decisions on a collective level because that’s the African way.
EH: How do we break academic mis-education?
Hakim Muhammad: There’s various methods we can use. But for me, I feel that every parent should get more involved in their kid’s school P.T.A and other school organizations and advocate for a more Afro-centric educational curriculum. We basically along with the help of civic and religious organizations have to become more proactive in the education of our youth and teach them their role in history. The Honorable Louis Farrakhan gave us an excellent example when he said, if there’s a crowd of people and someone takes their picture and you’re in that crowd, when you see that picture the first thing you will do is look for yourself. That’s the same thing with history. When we start teaching the relevance and importance of history, not with us being a side note but being involved in an important way, that’s when we’ll see the positive benefits of public school education.
EH: Your answer may have accuracy, but many blacks would prefer to have your or most black people’s idea authenticated by a white person.
Hakim Muhammad: Not only is that true locally, it’s true national and internationally. Minister Abdul Muhammad, who is a long time teacher in the Chicago Public School System was speaking about this very point in Chicago recently. Whenever he has his lectures, he has a stack of books to illustrate and document his point. In order to be taken seriously by his students, he has to bring a white person to the table. He has to show that some other scholar or white person said it too.
I think this is also part of the residue of historic white supremacy. Basically if it comes down to if I say it or you say it, it doesn’t carry that much weight in the minds of many blacks. But if we show or say that Einstein stated this or the president stated this, that’s when it becomes more significant. That’s part of the syndrome, “the white man’s ice is colder and his water is wetter.” The same thing holds true when a black person is the owner of his own business. Many blacks will instinctively go to a white owned business before giving a black entrepreneurship a try even if the black owned business has been around for decades. The mentality still exist that believes the white person’s business is better because of their skin color.
EH: You’ve been working for Perry Carpet Cleaning, a business your dad founded, for most of your life. How have you avoided frustration and maintained a positive attitude in a loosing battle with white supremacy as it exists in the mindsets of many Fort Wayne black people?
Hakim Muhammad: I think the key is in having a proper knowledge of self, who I am as an individual in the universe. And, a proper understanding of history and of black people’s contribution to every aspect of life. I definitely get frustrated from time to time, but I see my role in the family business. I have to be able to keep things moving and I draw upon the strength of my ancestors who came before me. They struggled, but they still built business and made contributions to a better society. My ancestors didn’t let Jim Crow, segregation and KKK white terrorism stop them. So I just draw upon their example figuring, if they can do it, I can do it.
EH: How does historic enslavement conditioning manifest itself within us today?
Hakim Muhammad: It more psychological than anything. You can see it in the things we do. Racism seems not to be as overt as it was during slavery when a white person would call you a nigger in public. But the past is still with us, ingrained in our subconscious. You see the manifestation of that in black on black violence in the Fort Wayne community with its various shootings. A gentleman was recently killed at the Pontiac Mall.
There’s a book that came out a few years ago called “Wild Sanctuary” that documented the various times a black was lynched throughout United States history. In the pictures that the author presents, you always see a crowd of white folks pointing at the charred remains or the hanging of a black person. Then you fast-forward to the 21st century, you see that same mentality when you look at the reactions of black people watching blacks harm one another. For example when a black says “there’s a fight,” blacks will swarm to it and look at the people engaged in watching black people hurt each other. You can go to various websites and see black women destroying each other. It’s so sad because when you look around, you see blacks right there looking at them fight and cheering them on. So what’s the difference between what happened in 1930 Marion, Ind., when two or three black men were hanged in the infamous picture where the white folks were pointing up at them hanging in the tree and in 2013 on the websites where you see black people pointing at black people hurting each other?
EH: What did President Barack Obama’s debate performance against Mitt Romney tell you?
Hakim Muhammad: Well again, going back to Minister Abdul Muhammad’s lecture in Chicago, which was entitled, “The End of White Supremacy,” I think that ties into President Obama’s debate performance. White supremacy is not ending anytime soon, but it on its way. He then gave an excellent example by saying if you were on your way to New York City and you see a sign saying 300 miles, you’re not going to pull over and say, “okay, I’m here.” But, it’s a sign saying you’re on your way. You’re close. In the debate, the president showed he was intellectual, more capable and was able to go toe to toe with Mitt Romney. That in a way shows either white supremacy is on its way out it can still be expressed through the policies of President Obama.
EH: If a person maintains their same slave mentality even though doors have opened, won’t they still behave as a trained dog and not stretch beyond a certain point?
Hakim Muhammad: Carter G. Woodson said something very similar to that when he said, “you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” This is due to our thinking being programmed through white supremacy.
Concerning President Barack Obama, even though I don’t agree 100 percent with everything he’s done, I think the symbolism of him being in the White House with a beautiful black wife and two black children will for generations shatter the ceiling of our expectations and demonstrate to young people that they can aim for the highest office in the land. The symbolism of that alone is the same symbolism that existed when you go back about 30 years ago to 1984 when Rev. Jesse Jackson was running for the US Presidency. Rev. Jackson’s presidential run gave way to President Barack Obama seeing that a black man can run and compete successfully for the highest office in the land.
Going back through our history it’s important to note the progression of what can be done based on our individual initiative and successful past performances, in spite of white supremacy.
EH: That’s why you need to know your history?
Hakim Muhammad: Oh yes! It’s very important.
Eric Hackley is a veteran independent journalist, television show host and producer focusing largely on history, particularly family history in the black community. His award-winning public access television shows have featured a host of local and national icons. Hackley can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article originally appeared in the July 17 print edition.