Meet Licensed Psychotherapist Ajuma K. Muhammad (Part two of two)

| June 2, 2016
Eric Hackley

Eric Hackley

‘No ways tired’—Role models crucial to showing positive path

By Eric D. Hackley

Editor’s note: The following is the second part of a two-part interview Eric Hackley conducted with Ferguson, Mo. native and Licensed Psychotherapist Ajuma K. Muhammed, and owner of Ajuma’s Counseling Services L.L.C. In this week’s installment, Brother Ajuma talks about the impact of social engineering and the importance of role models staying strong and staying on the job among other topics.

HACKLEY: In terms of social engineering, the “Willie Lynch Letter” says that if the phenomena, so to speak, isn’t broken within 300 years, that the slave mentality mindset will become perpetual. And one can argue that this the case almost today.

BROTHER AJUMA: Well, it’s the case and it will always be the case until we develop a sense of enlightenment and awareness and culture. We have to become as African Americans unapologetically black and develop an African-centered frame of reference. That’s the only way that we’re going to be able to survive in America. America is racist to the core. America was founded on racism.  America benefits from racism. But the interesting thing about other ethnic groups is they’re able to survive and even thrive because they have that cultural unity. That cultural unity is a sense of glue that keeps them together as a community. So regardless of who the next politician or president is, they continue to thrive.

So when you take African Americans and you strip them of their history, the knowledge of who they are, you take away their culture and demean them, then use social, psychological engineering to create a paradigm within them that keeps them confused, and this is not an excuse, it’s the reality that we are subjected to. So until we develop that sense of awareness and continuity and culture, then we’ll continue to be confused.

HACKLEY: That situation has been going on since the inception of slavery and colonization of the Americas. The work that you are doing today with younger people, how is that having an impact on reversing the socially engineered mindset?

Eric Hackley (left) interviews Brother Ajuma Muhammad.

Eric Hackley (left) interviews Brother Ajuma Muhammad.

BROTHER AJUMA: The way I see it having a positive impact is that, God blessed me by not having a father in the home and meeting a brother by the name of Brother Sage and a couple other very positive brothers that provided me with a sense of direction and purpose. I utilized those tools and started an organization called the “Association of African American Role Models.” The program lasted for 20 years. Over 30,000 young people came through the program. 75 percent of them went on to do well. And the basis of their success they attribute to having an understanding of their culture, a sense of identity, a sense of purpose, and it pushed them towards the direction that God had intended for them to go in. They just needed to be reconnected with their culture.

The Malcolm X transformation is an excellent example of that. He was called Dirty Red, and even in prison, they used to call him Satan. And he was considered one of the most wayward individuals.  He sold drugs and all kinds of unacceptable kinds of things. But as a result of, and his understanding, finding God and a sense of direction, he totally transformed his life. And when he went to prison he studied and read every book in the library and you know, died one of the most respected men on the planet Earth.  So change is definitely possible with the understanding of self.

HACKLEY: Is the understanding of self that self-correcting mechanism that you always hear about, where you can keep something dumb only so long, then when exposed to light the organism will correct itself?

BROTHER AJUMA: Well, it doesn’t necessarily correct itself. Something can stay perpetually dumb for as long as time immemorial. It doesn’t make any difference. However, that self-knowledge that we were talking about becomes a corrective healing. It becomes therapeutic to a sick mind. When a person doesn’t know who they are or from whence they come, then they can be socially engineered in any direction, any direction that you want to take them in. There’s a psychologist by the name of John B. Watson, and he came up with the clean slate or clean glass theory, where he talked about through social engineering and environmental input and effect, that they could create a scientist, they could create a doctor, they could create somebody with purpose. By the same token, they even could create a criminal if that was the intended goal.  So it just depends on those environmental effects and who’s doing the leading, and they can lead you in any particular direction. So self-knowledge becomes a healing bond, because it gives you that center of gravity, that foundation, that personal direction that you need.

HACKLEY: Isn’t what you just suggested dependent upon the honesty of the government or the people who are in control of the societies?

BROTHER AJUMA: Well, the government doesn’t have to have as much of an impact as we allow it to have. The government has its own agenda. The government has its own national interest that it works to protect on a daily basis. You can take an individual that comes from a great home and they still end up becoming a drug addict or a criminal. So it goes back to self-knowledge, the knowledge that that person has in relationship to the creator or whoever they deem to call God. So those things are very, very important.

The interesting thing about the school system, is when our young people go to school they learn about science and math and social studies, but they never really learn about themselves or the good, the bad, the ugly, or the things that need changing. So the greatest knowledge is self-knowledge. The Honorable Elijah Muhammed used to say that all the time, that the greatest knowledge was self-knowledge. Once a man learns about himself or a woman learns about herself, the rest is history. Because they begin to understand the potentiality that they possess.

HACKLEY: Are you suggesting that a person can be successful or they can mature intellectually, even within a system of white supremacy?

BROTHER AJUMA: Absolutely! And this is a unique little caveat. You can go to the American school system and do well academically, get your degrees and so on and so forth, and still have a sense of racial self-hatred. Condoleezza Rice is probably the best example of that. Clarence Thomas is probably the next best example of that. The list goes on and on. These are individuals that went to Ivy League schools and so on and so forth, but have no real meaningful contribution or adoration for the African American community from whence they come.  So just because you’re formally educated, doesn’t mean you have a sense of consciousness or connection to your community. So I go back to my initial point of self-love and your culture.  Your culture is the basis of who you are and how you define yourself.

HACKLEY: When I was in high school, we had Afro clubs. Those are no longer in existence, they all gone being replaced by multi-cultural groups. All the things that gave a kid a sense of black cultural identity are gone. Is it solely up to the individual to enlighten himself and to rise above the obstacles in his path?

BROTHER AJUMA: Well, a person doesn’t know what they don’t know. And they usually won’t know it until somebody tells them or instructs them or shows them. And so it goes beyond the individual. It goes to those of us who develop a sense of consciousness. I believe we have a personal and a social responsibility to give to others. Because somebody intervened in my life some 35 years ago, I’m able to stand before you and provide this interview.

God has blessed me to touch the lives of thousands of people throughout the world and one man can truly make a difference. So I think it’s incumbent upon those of us who developed that sense of consciousness and awareness to give back to others, because our community is hurting, individually, emotionally, psychologically and personally. When older individuals are able to provide personal direction for the young people, then that gives them the opportunity to get on the right track and move forward.

HACKLEY: After all these years of working in this area and trying to achieve the objectives with young blacks, have you ever just wanted to throw up your hands and say, this is not going to work? And just want to walk away from it? If not, how did you stick with your passion?

BROTHER AJUMA: I’ve never had that sentiment because I’m motivated by the infinite possibilities of life. I think about if somebody would have given up on me, I would not have been blessed to touch the lives of thousands of people. I think about what our ancestors, I don’t call them slaves, but our ancestors, when I think about what they had to endure, so my day to day struggles are in no way in comparison to what they underwent. So when I compare and contrast the two, I don’t have any reason to be tired. You know, this work is just starting for me, and there’s so much more work to be done. And then we have to understand that we’re born into the world to die, but it’s what we do while we’re here. There ars so many lives that need to be touched, so many lives that haven’t been touched, and so I’m no ways tired. I’m motivated, I’m excited about life. I pray that God will continue to give me additional years to assist and help others.

I was blessed to be at the University of Notre Dame this past weekend for the Black Man’s Think Tank. I consider myself planting seeds. When you plant a seed, it doesn’t necessarily come up the next day, it doesn’t germinate the next day. However, it may be some years past that it germinates, and those individuals that you talked to will come and see you somewhere and say, “Hey, Brother Muhammed, hey man, I remember what you said to me.” I used to be a high school teacher and principal years ago, and I see some of my students. They come up to me and say, “Hey, Mr. Muhammed, you really changed my life. Hey, you were the father figure that we never had. You were the role model. You may not have realized we were looking at you, but we were watching your example. Your example spoke volumes to us, and therefore, I’m motivated and I, too, have become a teacher or a superintendent.” So we can’t afford to be tired. There’s too much work to do.

I pray that others will read our interview, see this video and be inspired and motivated, and I want everybody to understand that one man/one woman can make all the difference in the world. Our young girls are struggling with body image issues and how society has defined them and made them feel less than, and the same thing with our young African American males, our boys. You know, when I was growing up I used to hear this very negative statement about one in four young black boys being caught up in the penal system, probation or on parole, and they tell me it’s one in three now.  So I can’t afford to be tired when there’s so many youth or young possibilities out there that need direction or redirection.

I take pride in being a role model. I take pride in being a father to my children and all those children who I can’t be a father to. I strive to be a role model for them.  I’ve learned the two most important things in life are, the day you’re born and the day you figure out what your purpose is. And so my purpose is to inspire, to motivate, to teach our young people about entrepreneurship, leadership, service to the community. And so I’m no ways tired. I’m excited.

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Category: Civil Rights, Community, Features, Health

About the Author ()

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

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