Religion In American Culture

.. n by the rest of America as a force to be reckoned with. I think many American blacks were happy to accept him as the next leader of black people, since one was about due. Unfortunately, Farrakhans solutions to most of the black mans problems involve extreme hatred towards and separatism from American culture in general and all other racial groups that exist in it. His presence as a strong black leader can have extreme ramifications on racial relations in this country, because there is a thin line between upholding him as a great social leader and adopting all of his hateful and racist attitudes.

Farrakhan has certainly not been subtle in his beliefs that the white man is evil and inferior to blacks, as the NOI has always taught. However, he has also placed more emphasis on the hatred of Jews than the NOI had ever expressed in the past. Over the past few years, Farrakhan has been quoted to make an amazing number of anti-Semitic statements, many of them shockingly direct and poignant, including: You are wicked deceivers of the American people. You are the synagogue of Satan and are sending this nation to hell. And, Look at the imposter Jew. Somebody must look you in your cold lying eyes and call you what you are.

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I dont give a damn about you and will give you hell from the cradle to the grave. (4) You can imagine how popular this kind of talk has made Farrakhan among Jewish groups, as well as other, non-sectarian anti-discrimination groups. Farrakhan got the attention of the entire nation in 1995 when he called for a million man march on Washington. The invitation was extended to all able bodied black men to gather at Washington on October 16th. The purpose of this march was to declare to the government of America and the world that we are ready to take our place as the head of our families and communities and shoulder the responsibility of being the maintainers of our women and children.

(3) That statement was part of an article written by Farrakhan himself published in The Final Call, a NOI newsletter. The call to march went out to all black men regardless of religious background, not just NOI members. In fact this march had little to do with religion, and was more of a rally for social change and empowerment of the black race. The Million Man March ended up being a great success, attracting somewhere from 80,000 to a million black men. (2) There were many polls and surveys taken at the march to determine what kind of men attended and for what reasons.

Although Farrakhans description of the purpose of the march may have sounded somewhat vague, it is clear that participating in the march meant a lot of different things to different people. One large focus for many was to make America know her sins, a favorite phrase of the late Elijah Muhammed. For some, that simply meant creating a presence that forced the country to acknowledge the anger and frustration of black people, and hopefully lead to greater tolerance and less racism. For others, it was a demand for reparations by the US government to somehow compensate for slavery, and the eternity of institutional racism that has followed. (2) Many people expressed pride in the fact that such a large number of blacks banding together could really knock some fear into white America.

And the march did evoke fear in the eyes of many whites and other non attendants, some even comparing it to a Ku Klux Klan rally, or making other references to reverse racism.(2) Despite the few extreme viewpoints of those at the march, and the fear it caused in many outside the march, most people were just there to participate and show their support of a social movement towards empowerment of black people and black communities. The speeches given, and the overall morale at the million man march was definitely less focused on hatred and finger-pointing, and more focused on the unity, support, and power of black people themselves. Much emphasis was placed on repentance of their own sins, the cleansing of themselves, the work they must do to help their own families and communities. (3) I believe the ultimate goal Farrakhan had in mind for these men was to someday conquer the need for any connection with white culture, and in some way prove that they were better off that way. Whether that is the case or not, the basic message communicated at the march was one of self-empowerment and racial unity. This kind of mentality is great, and shouldnt necessarily be viewed as a scary, potentially dangerous thing.

What I am more concerned with is the fact that Farrakhan himself was capable of reaching enough people to actually pull something like this off. It does indicate how much leverage he has in the black community as a powerful social leader. Since the march, Farrakhan has not done anything nearly as newsworthy, but he continues to give sermons and speeches on smaller scales, and has a strong voice in the NOI newsletters and publications. And, apparently, he is still managing to anger some people. One angered group is the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), a worldwide organization which attempts to fight anti-Semitism and bigotry.

They have obviously been listening closely to everything Farrakhan has publicly said in the years following the Million Man march, and have published an informal press address quoting a few of the most offensive statements. According to this list, Farrakhan seems to make some very ridiculous and pretty anti Semitic things. He has also defended the acts of terrorists like Bin-Ladden, Qadaffi, Sadam Hussein, Aryan Nation militia, and even Hitler. (4) NOI members responded to these claims by criticizing the ADL for shortening and manipulating his statements to be misconstrued, or taken out of context. (2) The true Nation of Islam ideas are very extreme, and have the potential to greatly impact race relations America.

The mere presence of the NOI, with the help of Minister Farrakhan, has already impacted many people, and brought extremely different reactions. The fact that a lot of Americans view Farrakhan as such a powerful black leader is frightening, because he really teaches hatred and anger, and says a lot of things that are simply not true. However, his ultimate goal of complete segregation is never going to happen, and I dont think the American black community is taking everything he says quite so seriously. If anything, maybe Farrakhans messages of self-improvement, hard work and strong community will eventually cause some positive changes for blacks in America. English Essays.


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