Nation of Islam minister David Muhammad said he believes the
government still prevents blacks from succeeding in life.
“(They) do not want to see the rise of the black man, the
black woman (or) the black family,” he said, adding that the
U.S had always failed to implement justice for blacks.
To celebrate the 95th birthday of the National Association for
the Advancement of Colored People, the University’s chapter
invited Muhammad to speak last night at the Michigan Union on the
role of black college students in the black community.
Erin Johnson, president of the University’s chapter of the
NAACP said the event was sponsored to give people a forum to
discuss the plight of blacks.
“(We want to) embrace the history of African Americans and
put it in light for others.” Johnson said.
Muhammad discussed the state of the black community, noting the
many pitfalls of the college experience for black students. White
students control school newspapers and student governments,
Muhammad said, describing a difficulty for black students.
“(White students) make sure nothing goes down on campus
that they’re not a part of,” he said.
He added that black college students were not given the proper
education needed to ameliorate their low status on campus.
“They are only giving us an education to fit into a system
that they have designed … or programmed … to attain
certain goals,” Muhammad said. “(The education) does
not give us spiritual force … the repair work and salvage
that is needed to save blacks is not given to us.”
He added that this was done because the authorities wanted to
keep their “ruling seats of power.”
LSA sophomore Sean Robinson who attended the event said blaming
whites was inaccurate because of the cases of “black on black
oppression.” “Your misfortune is not because of the
white person,” Robinson said.
But Muhammad nevertheless cited injustices against blacks as the
force behind his “declaration of war” between the
discriminators and the discriminated, he said.
“America has done so much to make us feel like we’re
nobody,” Muhammad said, alluding to what he believes is a
“conspiracy to destroy the black man.”
He listed grievances against the U.S government —starting
with the lynching and burning of slaves before the Civil War and
continuing today with the state of unemployment that he said blacks
are kept in by the government.
“If the black man stands up to speak to the injustice,
they either stop him by character assassination or by other
means,” he said, citing Democratic presidential candidate Al
Sharpton, as one other black leader who faces prejudice.
Muhammad focused on discrimination faced by Nation of Islam
members especially from the media, which he said often misrepresent
them. He was disappointed by the recent media fiasco surrounding
Michael Jackson’s involvement with the group.
“(They say) no banks or music companies will want to work
with him now,” he said. “It is as if … we are a
group that is ready to assault them.” He emphasized the
teachings of Elijah Muhammad, former Nation of Islam leader, that
do not allow members to keep weapons in their homes or carry a
Bringing in an optimistic twist to his speech, Muhammad said
blacks must unite to work together against this discrimination. He
especially encouraged college students to join organizations and
make a difference, calling them the “brightest stars of the
“(Black students need to) have such a policy making effect
that we can change what is against our people,” he said.