RACISM AND THE SOUL OF A NATION
“And with racism now plaguing in America like an incurable cancer all thinking Americans should be more respective to Islam as an already proven solution to the race problem” (Malcolm X).
Dr. Hossein Omidi, PhD.
In the introduction of his famous book Post-Soul Nation: The Explosive, Contradictory, Triumphant, and Tragic 1980s as experienced by African Americans (2005), George Nelson emphasizes that for hundreds of years “philosophers” as well as “religious leaders” were using the term “soul” exclusively “to describe man’s spiritual core”. He pronounces that:
The soul could be cursed to eternal damnation. The soul could rise up to heavenly salvation. God and the Devil have sparred over the soul of man since before the very devout Bible was written. The soul has always been that region of consciousness that truly defined us, not the temple of flesh we walk around in. To this day the soul is, in popular consciousness, associated with one’s spiritual dimensions (Nelson, p1).
From the other hand, in his well-read work The Souls of Black Folk (1903), W. E. B. Du Bois reveals that the “color-line” problem is the most important problem of the Twentieth Century in the United States of America. His notions of life behind the “veil of race” and the subsequent “double-consciousness” which for him means the permanent “looking at one’s self through the eyes of others”, have become criterions for contemplating about race in The United States of America
Surprisingly, the election of Donald John Trump as the 45th President of The United States of America and Michael Richard Pence as Vice President in 2016 as well as the Coronavirus Disease (COVID-19) Pandemic proved that still in the Twenty First Century “color-line” is the most significant problem in the United States of America.
In his bestseller We Were Eight Years in Power (2017), the national correspondent for Atlantic, Ta-Nehisi Coates states that “it’s impossible to imagine Trump without the Force of Whiteness”. In fact, Coates considers Trump as “The First White President” in The USA history. Furthermore, he stipulates that “the foundation of Donald Trump’s presidency is the negation of Barack Obama’s legacy” which means Trump’s identity was to negate Barak Obama. He used a black president as his foe and allowed all white, especially white working class, people in America to shout loudly “I am not a Niger”. Evidently, the reason behind that was nothing but “Pure Power and Tribalism”. Henceforward, “it is insufficient to state the obvious of Donald Trump that he is a white man who would not be president were it not for this fact” (https://www.theatlantic.com/magazine/archive/2017/10/the-first-white-president-ta-nehisi-coates).
In reality, the power of white privilege in America has always been clearly seen through the ages of presidents and Congress. A fortune that has been manipulated by the immoral and inhumane for power, greed and lust. This was seen through actions that left scars from profits and power gained at the price of human dignity and salvation. These practices has limited and closed doors to many fair and just people due to race or ethnic lineage. Through acts of atrocities towards those who offered resistance to those practices. With limited resource and opportunities it has remain among the white elites to remain in power, and unbridled with Trump at the reigns. While we’re on the subject, once more in We Were Eight Years in Power (2017), Ta-Nehisi Coates discusses correctly that
With one immediate exception, Trump’s predecessors made their way to high office through the passive power of whiteness—that bloody heirloom which cannot ensure mastery of all events but can conjure a tailwind for most of them. Land theft and human plunder cleared the grounds for Trump’s forefathers and barred others from it. Once upon the field, these men became soldiers, statesmen, and scholars; held court in Paris; presided at Princeton; advanced into the Wilderness and then into the White House. Their individual triumphs made this exclusive party seem above America’s founding sins, and it was forgotten that the former was in fact bound to the latter, that all their victories had transpired on cleared grounds. No such elegant detachment can be attributed to Trump who, more than any other, has made the awful inheritance explicit
In actual fact, the world witnessed the victory of white supremacists (“people who believe that the white race is better than all other races and should have control over all other races”) over the negroes (“members of a race of humankind native to Africa and classified according to physical features such as dark skin pigmentation”) in the most racist election in the history of the US
Essentially, the fanatic supporters of Donald Trump are uneducated (mostly white working class) and racist Americans who hold on to the ideology of white supremacy. They are supporters of a white America and a right-wing fanaticism for racial war and a caste system (Woodward, 2002). Most are middle aged and older Americans relentlessly trying to hold on to America’s foundations based on slavery and white supremacy. The fiercest group is made up of fanatic Evangelical Christian groups which are Zionists. They support the marginalization of all people of color and of all other religions, especially Muslims. They finance the systems of racial disparity and oppression, including America’s political support for the Zionist Israeli Occupying regime. They favor Trump’s severe sanctions and barbaric wars against independent states such as The Islamic Republic of Iran in the Middle East and Venezuela.
Racism (“a belief that race is the primary determinant of human traits and capacities and that racial differences produce an inherent superiority of a particular race”) in America goes very deep (https://www .merriam-webster.com/dictionary). The roots of racism go as deep as the country’s beginning, 240 years ago. Its very formation was built on the backs of black slaves and the brutal massacre of the indigenous people of the land. In the face of defeat to overcome its ugly soul, America is determined to polish over its tarnished soul of racist corruption, ungodliness and cruelty in the name of democracy and political correctness. America has lost the battle in this regard. Its institutions, legal, social, economic and political systems are rife with racist mechanisms embedded in the founding documents from its inception.
Representing Hundreds of Millions of Christians, through a letter to The US Congress, 80 Christian faith leaders took “an unprecedented stand” against the racism in the United States of America. In this letter we read “when people of color in the body of Christ suffer—while many white members of the body of Christ do not acknowledge their pain—we are violating the principle laid down in 1 Corinthians 12: that we are one body with many parts, who suffer with and honor one another”(https://sojo.net/media/faith-leaders-cross-political-divides-unite-against-racism-and-poverty).
To tell the truth, “racism” is a “systemic issue” which is “central to the Bible and the teachings of Jesus” (Unity Declaration). As we read in the Galatians, “there is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, nor is there male and female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (3:28). “If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise” (3:29).
Consequently, It is “critical to policy choices made by political leaders of faith and conscience” (Unity Declaration). However, it is obvious that politicians and political leaders of faith and conscience do not often exist in (both Republicans and Democrats) the United States of America’s government. In fact, “racism is systematic and structural in America and harms people of color in very specific, measurable, and tangible ways” (Unity Declaration).
From its founding, in the Declaration of Independence, which declares that “all men are created equal,” the forefathers explicitly outlined who that applied to. This racial contract applied only to European white males that owned property in the new land. All its subsequent laws and social rules are designed to protect white Americans above all else. The right to life, liberty and the pursuit of justice applies fully only to white men and women. Everyone else falls within an underlying structure of a racial contract and systems of discrimination that deny nonwhites the same basic rights under the Constitution of the United States. The racial contract underlying the seemingly flawless and social rules established for American implicitly violates the same rights to nonwhites. The intent was to provide a means of legal and civil superiority to the white European people for whom the nation was formed.
So, the laws clearly state that in this civil society its members must abide by certain rules of conduct, such as, obeying the laws, voting and the right to non-violent protests if they disagree with such rules. Yet in America, whites are the only ones able to live freely under those laws. Under laws making it illegal to murder others, whites are free to murder black people at random and justify it due to the color of their skin. They can appeal to the law stating that blacks are suspicious, dangerous or simply scary in their defense. Americans with guns can shoot and kill a black man without fear of going to prison. The police in America are known to shoot and kill unarmed black men at will for no reason at all. They do not even have to justify the killings before a court of law. Many are the reasons they claim for such deplorable actions, but the reality is that society has accepted the killings of blacks due to the color of their skin and other racial biases.
Police are known to label all blacks as potential criminals without evidence or proof of wrongdoing. They simply claim they are protecting the citizens and doing their job in eliminating crime. When indeed they are the real criminals armed with guns and given badges of trust by the government to kill at will for any reason they deem appropriate. In the endless number of cases, the victims are always black men and women who have committed no crimes nor broken any laws. One such case was the cold-blooded murder of a 26 year-old woman named Breonna Taylor, in her own home. Breonna was an Emergency Medical Technician, (EMT), who assisted patients during transport to a medical facility. On the night of March 13, three Louisville, Kentucky police officers broke into her home at 1 a.m. looking for a person they suspected of dealing in narcotics. They shot Breonna eight times without hesitation upon entering. They killed her in cold blood and continued shooting 20 more rounds of live bullets into the walls of apartment. The bullets even entered the apartment of a pregnant mother and her 5-year-old child lived. We can only imagine the terror in the lives of those women and child as they shook with fear. Breonna died alone. She died a most violent death for no reason, just because she was black. The laws make it very convenient for the police to carry out such acts without consequences or punishment. These are trigger-happy cops who kill for the joy of killing blacks. They had no warrant to search the home. They found no drugs in Breonna’s home, but she is gone. Dead before her time for being black in America.
This is only one of countless murders of blacks in this country. On February 23, Ahmaud Arbery, a 25-year-old black man was murdered while jogging by two white men in Brunswick, Georgia. The men were white, a father and his son. They carried guns and were playing the role white vigilantes. In America, all white men that carry weapons consider themselves an extension of the law or the police and do not hesitate to use deadly force if given the chance. They are also trigger-happy armed criminals who seek the opportunity to use their power against non-whites, especially blacks. The pair saw a black man jogging, assumed he must be a criminal and chased Ahmaud with their guns and killed him in cold blood. Ahmaud had no weapons but he was killed for being a young black man jogging in America. The father who killed Ahmaud, was a former employee of the local District Attorney. After hearing of the killing by his former employee, the District Attorney refused to file murder charges against the man or his son for 74 days. It was not until a citizen who took a video of the shooting and it was made public that charges were filed. Whites in America have a license to kill blacks and other nonwhites with impunity. This has always been the reality. They can simply chalk it up to having made an honest mistake. But who gave them the right to bear arms and to kill? Clearly the U.S. government and local authorities do. This has been the case since the founding of the nation. The formation of the U.S. police forces was initially instituted to catch and kill run-away black slaves. It is still the force America uses to racially profile and kill many innocents of color in America. Nonwhites make up most of the innocent deaths by whites and many are in jails and prisons due to racial profiling and false charges. They are proportionately the greater population in American jails and prisons. Many are denied their civil and constitutional rights to a speedy trial and legal representation. They are not labeled slaves today, but the reality is still as sinister and cruel.
The distance between yesterday’s slavery and today’s racist crimes is morphed by hypocritical attempts to hide the injustices. Laws have been introduced to make it legal to kill, like the “stand-your- ground” law which states that if you feel threatened you can kill a person with your weapon. So, a white person can claim that his life felt threatened, that he or she was scared so they used deadly force. But this usually only happens against blacks disproportionately. Not too far from the black slave running for his life and being shot down for wanting freedom. What does freedom really look like in America?
Oh, but Blacks and other minorities do have the right to vote in the U.S. It is a democracy with a fascist face. The political system is rigged to suppress the black and Latino vote in the U.S. There is what is called gerrymandering, a masked term used by political groups to change a voting district by setting boundaries of electoral districts to favor specific political interests within legislative bodies. This results in corrupt boundary lines by the party in control to pack the Congressional votes to their advantage and thereby reducing the other party’s Congressional representation. Many of the citizen’s votes are lost or wasted in this corrupt practice. So many of the districts with minorities and blacks fall within the affected districts and results in wasting votes. Gerrymandering puts more votes of winners into the district they will win so the losers win in another district. There are other entrapments used against minorities exercising their rights to vote. There was a case of a black woman who for years suffered the fear of persecution by a prosecutor who attempted unsuccessfully to prosecute her for years for helping another black voter use an electronic voting machine. In America, it is not a crime for a white man can stalk and kill a stranger who is black. But when black people vote it can be considered a crime. Even the right to vote is riddled with danger.
But what of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which ended segregation in schools and in public places that were once reserved only for whites. This Act also banned employment discrimination based on race, color and religion. It was President John F. Kennedy who first proposed this legislation and he protected it from opposition from members of Congress mainly from the southern states which were predominantly slave-owner states before the abolishment of slavery in America. After the Civil War between the north and the south in America, there were no laws to protect blacks. After the war, slavery was abolished, and all former slaves were given citizenship and the right to vote. These are the 13, 14 and 15 constitutional amendments. Back then, segregation existed and was enforced viciously by armed white supremacist groups like the Ku Klus Klan (KKK), especially in the southern states. From the post-Civil War era until 1968 there existed state and local laws that made it legal to practice segregation in schools, in employment, and other opportunities reserved only for whites. African Americans were severely marginalized as were Hispanics in America. They were denied the right to hold jobs, to vote and get a proper education. These were called “Jim Crow” laws, named after a Minstrel show, where whites performers painted the faces black and played characters that dehumanized African Americans. This is where the history of Blackface began. Today we recognize it is rooted in racism. Yet, for those living in the south in the 60s, any black or Hispanic person who dared violate the Jim Crow laws faced cruel punishments, including, arrest, jail, huge fines, violence and even death. All were subject to black codes designed to keep African Americans subjugated and deprived of white privileges.
Awkwardly, the history and culture of the American Nation and its Soul is full of dehumanizing insulting belligerent behaviors towards the Minorities. One of these disgracing acts was and still is using names for the purpose of insulting, slurring, smearing, and belittling Minorities and their origins. Extracted from the Racial Slurs Database which contains most of the names used for belittling Minorities and their origins.
When John F. Kennedy became president and saw the brutal suppression of black demonstrators in Birmingham, Alabama, by police attacking nonviolent protestors with clubs, dogs and high-pressure water hoses, he decided to act to end the racist oppression. In 1963, President Kennedy proposed the most comprehensive civil rights legislation, saying that the United States “will not be fully free until all of its citizens are free.” He did not get to sign this law. He was assassinated in November of that year and his successor, President Lyndon B. Johnson continued to support it. He signed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 on July 2, 1964. Under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 segregation based on race, religion or national origin was banned. All public places could no longer deny blacks and other minorities service based on the color of their skin. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. A great civil rights leader proclaimed the Civil Rights Act of 1964 as nothing less than a “second emancipation,” referring to the original Emancipation Proclamation of 1863 which declared that all slaves in the states “shall be then, henceforward, and forever free.”
This also paved the way for two other laws: the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which prohibited literacy tests and other discriminatory voting practices that were common in many states to suppress the Black and minority votes. This was followed by the Fair Housing Act of 1968, which banned discrimination in the sale, rental and financing of property. Before this legislation, many states in the south used all types of oppressive measures to suppress blacks and minorities marginalized and disenfranchised. They used the poll taxes, literacy tests and many other measures to restrict voting based on education, financial assets and other protocols as a requirement. Many states were still enforcing Jim Crow laws that prohibited Blacks and other minorities from entering public establishments, such as restaurants, parks, stores, schools and government buildings. In this regard, in his article “The Garbage Man: Why I Collect Racist Objects”, David Pilgrim writes righteously that
Jim Crow was more than a series of “Whites Only” signs. It was a way of life that approximated a racial caste system (Woodward, 1974). Jim Crow laws and etiquette were aided by millions of material objects that portrayed blacks as laughable, detestable inferiors. The Coon caricature depicted black men as lazy, easily frightened, chronically idle, inarticulate, physically ugly idiots. This distorted representation of black men found its way onto postcards, sheet music, children’s games, and many other material objects. The Coon and other stereotypical images of blacks buttressed the view that blacks were unfit to attend racially integrated schools, live in safe neighborhoods, and work in responsible jobs, vote, and hold public office. Living under Jim Crow meant battling shame
In Crystal City, Texas, a small town in southwest Texas, these were measures that had kept the same white politicians in office and control for decades. It was not until Dr. King’s civil rights movement and the election of President John F. Kennedy that the political structure started to change for Blacks and the predominantly Hispanic populations. Crystal City had been plagued by Caucasian domination of city hall and the public-school system. The town was divided by race and privilege. The Mexican Americans lived on the poor side of town without paved streets, poor housing and utilities. The whites lived on the other side of town with paved roads, well-lit streets, sidewalks, parks and good schools.
During World War II, Crystal City had been one of the locations where Japanese Americans were imprisoned in internment camps. It was a facility used by the government to imprison all Japanese Americans during the war violating their rights to freedom as citizens of the United States. The old abandoned camp on the outskirts of town was used as a school for the impoverished Hispanic children. It was an elementary school where books and other resources were scarce. Classrooms were overcrowded, supplies were limited and there was no cafeteria for school lunches. Children had to bring their own lunch, or they did not eat during the day. Some families were very poor, and their children brought very meager portions of food for the day. Due to low wages for the Hispanic farm workers and laborers, many children did not have suitable clothes for the cold winter months. Many had to walk great distances to get to school every day. Some were lucky enough to have parents with vehicles and they fared better. The good inner-city schools were for the white children. It was uncommon for Hispanic children to attend a white school unless the school directors favored such a child and saw great potential in them. But even that was a major challenge for most Hispanic kids as they were not used to living and mingling with the white kids who they felt were superior. It was the uncommon child who was asked to attend the whites’ school and to succeed educationally, socially and emotionally. The culture shock could prove detrimental. Having been tarnished by racial discrimination and having witnessed the superiority of white privilege granted their peers, many Hispanic kids felt inadequate to compete with them in their own schools. Some were not given a choice. Children went home to find the school director sitting in their homes discussing with their parents their transfer to the white schools. For these children, success meant proving themselves equal intellectually and even surpassing the expectations of their teachers. Many succeeded in dismantling the status quo of white supremacy in education in these schools. Scrupulous white teachers took notice of the academic excellence of the Hispanic kids. The great teachers will always be remembered for empowering their Hispanic students to succeed beyond their white peers. It became a trivial matter to look at your white peers and find common ground in academic achievement. Even so, the urge to see them as superiors was not so easily dismissed. Growing up as a second-class citizen in a racist society leaves permanent scars in the mind of a child.
It was not long after President Kennedy was elected that the Mexican Americans in Crystal City organized against white dominance in the town. The 1963 movement was led by a local representative of the Teamsters Union at the local cannery factory. All the employees on the assembly lines were Hispanics. Their efforts were joined by the Political Association of Spanish-speaking Organizations (PASSO). PASSO succeeded in helping more Mexican Americans to pay the poll tax and to vote. Then they organized a large migrant farm-labor pool affiliated with the Teamsters at the Del Monte cannery. The Hispanics selected a slate of five candidates who became known as ‘los cinco’ (the five), from among the poor and undereducated Mexican Texans, to run for city council. They faced intimidation by the political establishment. Texas Rangers were called in by the governor to provide protection for them. After a successful and fruitful campaign, the day of the local election arrived. To stifle the votes, the white agricultural leaders doubled the hourly pay to the Mexican American laborers. The Del Monte cannery went into overtime production to keep the workers from voting. Enticing the poor with money was their only hope. Los Cinco had gained great support and all five candidates defeated the five white incumbents. The newly elected Hispanics won amidst major news outlets covering the election. The Mexican cinema was involved and wanted the rights to the historical election for a documentary. This was a pivotal moment for the civil rights movement and for the Hispanic voters in America. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was calling to congratulate them from a jail in Birmingham, Alabama. Dr. King had succeeded in the fight for civil rights and won, but he was later assassinated. He was a martyr for the cause of justice, freedom and human rights. Later that year in November of 1963, President John F. Kennedy was also assassinated in Dallas, Texas. He has spoken against the injustice in America and against elitist groups of power controlling the government. There are conspiracies indicating that he was assassinated to prevent real change in America.
As the soul of these two martyrs continue to remind of that the fight is not over until all are free, so the soul of a racist America continues to develop mechanisms to destroy the victories against injustice for Blacks and minorities in the United States. The face of racism continues to surface in greater strength since the election of Donald Trump as President. His is the true face of America, a nation determined to return to its roots of unparallel racism and corruption at the highest levels of government. What will it take to uproot its deep-seated hate and violence against humanity? Will the forces of sanity and survival prevail? Will the stain on the national soul of America be eliminated? This will require a bold but terrifying and transcendent honesty by the people and a determination to return to God and to love.
George Floyd Cause Goes Global
I am no threat;
I am guilty of no crime;
“I can’t breathe”;
William Edward Burghardt Du Bois established righteously that racism and “color line” is the Twenty First Century problem in the USA which leads to massive split among the nation. Indeed, this is “a source of great anxiety and concern”. In her article “Unequal Opportunity: Race and Education”, Linda Darling-Hammond reveals that the American educational system is considered among “the most unequal” in the developing world. As a matter of fact, based on the children’s milieu and “social status”, they do receive not the same educational “opportunities”. Such an educational discrimination policy goes beyond imagination as we find the most affluent 10% of the American educational institutions and schools expend approximately ten times more than the underprivileged 10%. In reality, statistics show that the “spending ratios of 3 to 1 are common within states”. Shockingly, the poor students are always to blame in case they do not achieve. The United States of America government does not find itself responsible and guilty for the explicit discriminations and injustices regarding funding, teacher quality, curriculum, and class sizes. On the word of Jonathan Kozol in his Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools (1991) there are huge differences between public schools serving nonwhite students in metropolitans and their residential counterparts. Characteristically, these educational institutions spend twice as much per student for populations with many fewer special needs
However, educational inequality and injustice is not the only kind of different inequalities in the US. In actual fact, The Americans are plagued with many types of such diseases.
On May 25, 2020, Derek Chauvin, the Minneapolis policeman and his three fellow officers killed George Floyd cold heartedly. His brutal murder once more sheds light on an ugly truth in The US. Black Americans lose their lives in America only due to the color of their skin. Numerous Black Americans, such as Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Michael Brown, and Philando Castile, have also been victims of “systemic racism”.
George Floyd’s death becomes the catalyst for a change in policing worldwide. His cruel and racist murder at the hands of police awakens the global population to the same injustice prevalent in so many countries. From America to small villages around the world, millions of people are protesting racial injustice and police brutality in a singular voice. This international cry for justice and end to racism, awakened by the public killing of Geroge Floyd, has touched every person of conscience. His desperate cry for help to his “momma” rang clearly with every mother around the world. Mothers come in all colors and they were summoned to answer the cry of yet another innocent victim of racist murder in the U.S. Forced to watch the senseless and cruel racist murder of this black man, resulted in a mass-consciousness awakening in the world.
The mass protests in hundreds of cities across the nation marked the largest number protestors in U. S. history and were represented by multi-racial groups and people of all ages. The protests did not diminish in numbers nor the justified anger. They grew in numbers, in solidarity and in determination among all ethnic groups calling for transformational changes in the police system. The people clamored for the dismantling, abolishing and defunding of America’s police institutions. The clarion calls for community control of police and holding police accountable for racist crimes against Blacks and minorities. Banning tactics, such as knee-on-neck procedures commonly used by police is no longer feasible. The efforts have failed miserably, and the truth and need to build strategies that promote real systemic changes to end all institutions and policies that perpetuate structural racism and inequalities. In Washington, DC, there were notable signs of fear prompting Trump to take cover in a bunker while and paralyzing all operations at the White House.
The people’s demands prompted the arrest of his killer, former officer Derek Chauvin and the other officers involved the killing of George Floyd. Chauvin’s charge of third-degree murder was increased to second-degree murders and two manslaughter charges. This resulted in a wave of calm over the protesters but also prompted greater efforts and peaceful protests for many days. George Floyd’s painful death at the hands of racist police demands not only that all police be held accountable for their crimes against Blacks but demands an end to police terror and the entire racist system in the U.S. that has been repressing so many people at home and in so many other countries. To win the fight against the power structure in America, the people must continue this solidarity and find ways to stay in the streets, protecting each other, and remain awake to tactics designed to topple their efforts. When the power-structure escalates their tactics and employ state terror, it signifies they are losing. To learn more about common tactics used against popular movements, leaders utilize the web-free school “How Social Transformation Occurs.” The call for greater resistance demands that people be well-informed of how to combat the enemy and how to respond to its tactics. May the Popular Resistance School provide all seekers of justice for all the George Floyds in America and the world the tools to bring justice and freedom to all.
In this regards, Imam Khamenei, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran, in his recent televised speech on the 31st anniversary of the demise of Imam Khomeini, mentioned the chaotic condition in America following the barbaric murder of George Floyd by American police and indicated, “A police officer putting his knee on a black man’s neck and pushing until he dies shows the nature of the American governments.” Imam Khamenei specified that “what is being witnessed today in US cities and states is the disclosure of a reality that was always kept concealed”. The leader of the revolution highlighted that “today’s situation is in fact like the slime at the bottom of the pond that has risen to the surface.” He established that “such crimes have frequently happened in the past, and the Americans have done the same things in many countries including Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria and other such countries”.
Mentioning the American protesters’ motto of “I cannot breathe,” Grand Ayatollah Khamenei said, “this is what the nations that have been the victims of US’s oppressive usurpation want to say from the bottom of their hearts. By God’s favor and grace, the US has been disgraced as a result of its own actions. Their management of the Coronavirus brought them to disgrace, and their weak handling of the situation caused them to have several times as many casualties as other countries. The American people feel embarrassed and ashamed of their government.” Imam Khamenei accentuated that The US government “despite the fact that they kill people in a visibly appalling manner, they are so brazen that they show up in public without one word of apology. That is while they open their big mouths to say that they support “human rights”. Seemingly, George Floyd “who was killed that way was not a human and did not have any rights! This is how it is”. Indeed, this is a “scandal for the American ruling system and humiliation for the American people”. Finally, The Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution of Iran concluded that “I believe that even those people – whether the Iranians inside our country or the Iranians outside the country – whose job is to support, defend and embellish the US, even they cannot hold their heads up because of the current circumstances in the US”.
Bipartisan senators especially; Michael Bennet, Cory Booker, and Kamala Harris, have spoken up. These senators have repeatedly been vocal against racism and Structural injustice. Two largest facets of distress of the people within the US imperial capitalist system. In this regard, Mr. Cory Booker, Senator of New Jersey, explicitly acknowledges that “America has a serious and deadly problem when it comes to the discriminatory and excessive policing of communities of color – and that policing exists within a system that time and again refuses to hold police accountable for their brutality.” He goes on to point out the depth of the tragedy. He articulates that “for too long, this has been accepted as a cruel reality of being black in this country.”
Referring to the violence and serial killings of African Americans by the police, Ms. Kamala Harris, a senator from the state of California, states that “in the wake of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor’s murders, we must ask ourselves: how many more times must our families and our communities be put through the trauma of an unarmed Black man or woman’s killing at the hands of the very police who are sworn to protect and serve them?” She continues that “America’s sidewalks are stained with Black blood”.
Also, Waikinya Clanton of Black Millennial Convention maintains that “for the past four-plus centuries, Black people have continuously been made to endure unfair, unjust, and inhumane treatment” in America. She asserts that the brutal murder of black people such as “George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and countless others have taught” the black community that “obedience will never be enough” and “liberty and justice for all applies to everyone but Black people.”
Finally, it is worth mentioning, reflecting on the American nation’s history and listening to the voices in Black communities, it is obvious that profound injustices and discriminations in the American society have been there for generations. Indeed, a straight line from slavery to Jim Crow to the redlining of the US banking and housing systems to mass incarceration to the wrongful massacres of Black people. Latterly, while examining the (Coronavirus Disease) COVID-19 pandemic, Black and brown people are diseased, hospitalized, and dying at extremely higher rates.
COVID-19 and Black Disparity in America
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the systemic racist institutions in the United States as the impact of the pandemic clearly shows the disparities between communities of color and white Americans. Especially among African American community this health disparity is significantly greater. African Americans are disproportionately dying from COVID-19 in comparison to other communities. This is happening across America in every state and major cities across the nation. This is yet another element of proof that the racist institutional systems in the United States are connected to the crimes against Blacks and other people of color in America. Even prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, there were great inequalities in the health-care system that left African Americans at a disadvantaged and more vulnerable to serious medical health risks. The economic and social structures are intentionally racist and designed to leave African Americans marginalized in the quality of health care available to them. They are systemically limited in areas of housing, employment, and a lack of medical insurance. Many do not have suitable employment and earn very low wages compared to the white Americans. They rely on social services benefits such as state-sponsored Medicaid or other public health insurance. Others are simply not insured and cannot seek medical care when they need it. Employers that pay low wages do not offer insurance or paid sick leave so many continue to work under desperate situations during illness.
A few statistics reveal the great disparity based on race and inequalities in America. In the state of Louisiana, where the population is only 33% African American, more than 70% of COVID-19 deaths are African Americans. According to the state’s Coronavirus death data report, 70.5% were African American, 28.6% were white and 1% Asian. In the state of Michigan, where Blacks represent only 14% of the population, 41% of COVID-19 deaths were African Americans. Also, in the state of Illinois, Blacks only make up 14% of the population yet COVID-19 deaths among Blacks totaled 32.5%. The uprising against police crimes and brutality in America is not an uprising against a single racist police institution; but it is an uprising against an entire system of racist oppression, marginalization and exploitation of Blacks and other minorities in the United States. However, it is noteworthy that this U.S. Imperialism rooted in violence, systemic racism and violent crimes are the colonial foundation of the United States. The mechanisms of racial discrimination and disparities do not only affect people of color in the United States but also affect people of color in the whole world. The U.S. imperialist and racist institutional systems have infiltrated all the nations worldwide, affecting people of color everywhere in the world.
Clearly, the worldwide protests triggered by the death of George Floyd, a Black American, has awakened the world’s population to the underlying mechanisms of systemic discrimination once accepted as the status quo. The world has awakened to one of its most prolific injustice; that of the racist discrimination of all people of color by racist white imperialist worldwide. COVID-19 was the catalyst that opened the door to greater resistance against racism and inequality not only in America but in the entire world of humanity.
The shine of holy light
The “them vs us” attitude was dominating most religions and it was indorsed by them for millenniums. Most of them regarded their followers to be selected by heaven. In effect, they considered non followers of their religion as inferiors. On the subject of Nationality and Race we have the same story. This mentality overwhelmed the world till, The Noble Quran as the central religious text of Islam which is truly the book of Divine guidance and direction and the shine of holy light for mankind was revealed to Prophet Muhammad (peace be up on him). Certainly, Quran promotes the concept of justice and equality of all human beings regardless of their faith and spiritual views.
This notion can be traced in the words of Allah the Almighty in Ar-Rum chapter where we read that “and among His wonders is the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the diversity of your tongues and colors. For in this, behold, there are messages indeed for all who are possessed of innate knowledge!”(30:22). Once more, as stated in Al-Hujurat chapter in Quran we read that “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (49:13). This verse proves that Allah deliberately created mankind assorted. To be sure, diversity among humans is not a coincidence. Like everything in the universe, diversity was created intentionally (http://lib.eshia.ir).
As a matter of fact, “come to know one another” is a will of Allah. To know each other with unconditional acceptance allows us to learn as well our own hearts. This builds our own self, our culture and our people the foundation to be consistent with growing, learning and understanding. Allah has given us the benefits of diversity. All tribes of people are reflections of his love and design. It is a responsibility of each of us to share the knowledge of his light with one another. This cultural exchange is for embracing the heavenly soul embodied in each person. In fact, this allows us to better not only understanding of each other but to gain wisdom to our own humility and the heart of own purpose. Actually, each individual is a thread of a tapestry created by Allah to display his divine love towards each of us. Only together with valuing the differences will learning, growing and strengthening be fully available. We gain in our communication with ourselves and our relationship with Allah Himself. To put it another way, we can say that “mingling among the tribes and races” is so significance in Islam. Rumor has it that, Allah like us to embrace people “who are not like us” and to “come to know one another”. This means that, “when we explore and embrace cultural differences in this manner, we are introduced to new ideas and learn lessons upon which our own cultural can build a firmer foundation” (https://studioarabiya.com/blog/ learning-arabic/what-does-the-quran-say-about-racism).
Equality in Islam is all-inclusive
As a matter of truth, no Muslim in the world doubts that Quran’s original Arabic text is the final revelation of Allah (God). Actually, to act in accordance with Allah’s will is our duty as His servants. At all times, even during distress and suffering, our duty is to observe the will of Allah as declared. Unquestionably, this holy book “is not only a book of prayer; it’s a unique book chartering a complete system for a human’s life, so it contains a wide array of information, from creed to legislation, to historic lessons, to scientific phenomena, to rules for handling domestic, social, and business affairs, thus giving Muslims a practical manual of how to run their lives according to God’s laws in the universe” (https://aboutislam.net/counseling/ask-about-islam/wheres-the-love-in-the-quran/).
In actual fact, several Principles of Equality can be traced in The Noble Quran. The first is Equality in relation to the Creator which is reflected in the Ar-Rum chapter that states “Allah is the one who created you, then provided for you, then will cause you to die, and then will give you life. Are there any of your “partners” who does anything of that? Exalted is He and high above what they associate with Him” (30:40). All human beings originated from the same source; therefore, no one human is superior to another. As stated by this principle, which allocates the inherent dignity of every human being, no human being is created superior or inferior to others. In the al-An’am chapter, The Holy Quran clearly states that “And it is He who produced you from one soul and [gave you] a place of dwelling and of storage. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand (6:98). It means that “all human beings are from the same root and equal in relation to one another; and yes, the one who created me is the one soul; He is the one who created you from one soul”(https://www.mehrnews. com/ news/2113881). As all human beings were created from one parent, indicates the inherent equality of all humans. As in a family, all human beings are brothers/sisters who must interact with each other in the spirit of brotherhood/sisterhood. Any division or strife within the human family would be a breach of this divine arrangement resulting in rifts and a deterrence from the natural order of creation. This is reflected as the manifestation of disorder in society which is directly related to the misguided values of the individuals in a society. This has led humankind to levels of atrocities unthinkable in the Creator’s plan. Furthermore, in the Al-Ma’idah chapter in The Quran, we read that “…whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with clear proofs. Then indeed many of them, [even] after that, throughout the land, were transgressors”(5:32). It means that, from one hand, to kill only one human being unjustly and without a good reason accepted by God (“for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land”) equals killing all mankind. From the other hand, to save only one human being equals saving all mankind. For in the human family, we are all one, united in origin and in brotherhood under One Parent.
The second principle is Equality in the wisdom of creation which can be found in the Adh-Dhariat chapter in The Glorious Quran which expresses that “and I did not create the jinn and mankind except to worship Me” (51:56). Really, worshiping Allah solely is manifested as the only justification for the creation of jinn and even mankind. Besides, in the Al-Hujurat chapter in The Quran, we read that “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted”(49:13). On the word of the Quran, society is made up of individuals which is promoted through thought and worship. Emphasizing this equality of human beings to process right patterns of thought in connection with worship is also manifested in different levels as everyone is guided equally according to his/her own volition. This is a matter strictly between a human being and the Creator. God is the giver of knowledge and the receiver of His worship, and He alone measures the piety of His servants. This criterion of superiority, piety, is weighed in the righteous scales of the One and True God, not in the scales of mankind; therefore, even piety gives no privilege to its owner. The obligations and prohibitions are the same for everyone. So, when the issue of rights arises, the Holy Quran makes it clear that there is no immunity for individuals as they are all equal under the law of God. The rights and duties of every human being is reflected in the principle of non-domination over the other. All are the same before Allah, consistent with the divine spirit He imparts to each one.
The Third principle is Equality of individuals in the merit of blowing the divine spirit in them. This principle can be outlined in the As-Sajdah chapter in The Noble Quran which enunciates that “then He proportioned him and breathed into him from His [created] soul and made for you hearing and vision and hearts; little are you grateful” (32:9). In his eminent address which is known as “The Farewell Sermon”;” Muhammad’s Final Sermon”; as well as “The Last Sermon”, The Holy Prophet Mohammad (pbuh) highlights the equality of human beings as he addressed the subject of supremacy among the Arabs of that time, in which he declared that only piety is the only criterion of superiority, in the eyes of God. For this criterion that is in the sight of God, cannot be measured by mankind and should give no privileges to its owner, except those endowed by Allah (al-Ihtijaj, v1, pp. 62-3).
The Fourth principle is Equality in the sowing of the seeds of knowledge within all of them. This principle is echoed in the Al-Baqarah chapter which articulates that “and He taught Adam the names – all of them. Then He showed them to the angels and said, “Inform Me of the names of these, if you are truthful”(2:31). In one of his sermon’s delivered at the battle of Siffin, about mutual rights of the ruler and the ruled, Imam Ali (pbuh) states “right does not accrue to any person unless it accrues against him also, and right does not accrue against a person unless it also accrues in his favor” (Nahj al-Balaghah 216). In reality, legal equality can only be confirmed when there is an equal relationship between rights and duties for each person. To be sure, equality of human beings in Islam includes every aspect of life. It contains all areas of fundamental rights, human rights, legal rights, livelihood, obligations and prohibitions. This eliminates the possibility of immunity for individuals. Thus, in dealing with issues that arise naturally in a society where all are assumed to be equal, Islamic Jurisprudence prevails in accordance to human rights as the most important aspect of justice. These principles establish an untarnished and unbiased equal precedence before the laws, before the judge and applies equally to everyone. Human rights, above all else, is considered the perfect scale of justice for everybody on earth, in The Islamic Religion. There is no greater basis for real justice.
The Fifth principle is Equality in the cause of perfection which is traced in the Al-Baqarah and Ash-Shuraa chapters in The Holy Quran. In Al-Baqarah chapter we read “The Messenger has believed in what was revealed to him from his Lord, and [so have] the believers. All of them have believed in Allah and His angels and His books and His messengers, [saying], “We make no distinction between any of His messengers.” And they say, “We hear and we obey. [We seek] Your forgiveness, our Lord, and to You is the [final] destination” (2:285). Once more in the Ash-Shuraa chapter we recite that “He has ordained for you of religion what He enjoined upon Noah and that which We have revealed to you, [O Muhammad], and what We enjoined upon Abraham and Moses and Jesus – to establish the religion and not be divided therein. Difficult for those who associate others with Allah is that to which you invite them. Allah chooses for Himself whom He wills and guides to Himself whoever turns back [to Him]” (42:13). And in the Al- An’am chapter we read that
“And it is He who produced you from one soul and [gave you] a place of dwelling and of storage. We have detailed the signs for a people who understand” (6:98). Accordingly, there is no one who declare themselves as perfect above others. The Quran says all humans are from the same root and all are considered equal in perfection for the one who created me is the one soul; he is the one who created you from one soul.
The Sixth principle is Equality in inherent dignity with primary dignity. This principle can be distinguished in the Al- Isra chapter in The Glorious Quran which enunciates that “and We have certainly honored the children of Adam and carried them on the land and sea and provided for them of the good things and preferred them over much of what We have created, with [definite] preference” (17:70). A manifestation of this principle is reflected in the Islamic jurisprudence and has been emphasized by all Muslim jurists who apply it equally among Muslims and non-Muslims. They view the creation as perfect in dignity from Allah’s viewpoint. This issue is well documented in various narrations and inferred from the biography of The Holy Prophet (pbuh) too. This encompasses all aspects of human equality as revealed in the Quran. It covers every aspect of life, liberty and human rights, dignity and the right to life, peace and worship.
The Seventh principle is Equality in the ability to acquire value and dignity. It is mirrored in Al-Hujurat chapter in The Glorious Quran as “O mankind, indeed We have created you from male and female and made you peoples and tribes that you may know one another. Indeed, the most noble of you in the sight of Allah is the most righteous of you. Indeed, Allah is Knowing and Acquainted” (49:13). In point of fact, the equality to acquire value, dignity, equal rights, human rights, intellectual rights, natural and legal rights, to be associated with the unequivocal equality in nature and conscience in all human beings can be seen in The Holy Quran.
There are some other principles in Quran such as Equality in the origin of human creation which is echoed in the Al-Nisa chapter in which we read “O mankind, fear your Lord, who created you from one soul and created from it its mate and dispersed from both of them many men and women. And fear Allah, through whom you ask one another, and the wombs. Indeed Allah is ever, over you, an Observer” (4:1); Equality in the main article of creation which is mirrored in the Al-Hijir chapter in which we find that “and We did certainly create man out of clay from an altered black mud” (15:26); Equality in nature and coordinates, including in intellect and conscience in Al-Qiyamah chapter in The Glorious Quran which enunciates that “and I swear by the reproaching soul [to the certainty of resurrection]” (75:2), “rather, man, against himself, will be a witness, (75:14), “even if he presents his excuses” (75:15); Equality against natural and legal rights of necessary laws in the Al-Ma’idah chapter which pronounces that “O you who have believed, be persistently standing firm for Allah, witnesses in justice, and do not let the hatred of a people prevent you from being just. Be just; that is nearer to righteousness. And fear Allah; indeed, Allah is acquainted with what you do” (5:8). And “Because of that, We decreed upon the Children of Israel that whoever kills a soul unless for a soul or for corruption [done] in the land – it is as if he had slain mankind entirely. And whoever saves one – it is as if he had saved mankind entirely. And our messengers had certainly come to them with 5:132); And Finally, Equality in general targeting. Definitely, all the principles are connected to each other as the plan for divine justice to mankind. For that reason, this forms the perfect path to equality in the life of human beings as subscribed to His followers in the Quran.
Colors of Paradise
To look at it through another viewpoint, The Holy Messenger of Allah, Prophet Muhammad (pbuh), has reminded us that our own actions reflect on us for the entrance into Paradise. We have been honored in legacy be the good actions of our parents and ancestors. This is a benefit to teach us and guide us. It does not earn our place. Only we can do that through the commitment of deeds done with good will towards others and to display the value of humility and humanity to ensure our placement is secured and promised into Paradise. This can be emphasized in the two following Hadiths by Prophet Mohammad (pbuh): “Verily, Allah has removed from you the pride of the time of ignorance with its boasting of ancestors. Verily, one is only a righteous believer or a miserable sinner. All of the people are the children of Adam, and Adam was created from dust “(Sunan al-Tirmidhī 3955). And the second which states “O people, your Lord is one and your father Adam is one. There is no favor of an Arab over a foreigner, nor a foreigner over an Arab, and neither white skin over black skin, nor black skin over white skin, except by righteousness. Have I not delivered the message?”(Musnad Aḥmad 22978) which indicates that piety is more important for Muslims than race or skin color.
And in conclusion, in this chaotic period of history in which the Americans are badly involved in racism, it seems that the only way to solve the race relations in the USA and the best solution for the world to see “post-racial” America is to follow Malcolm X suggestion where he utters that “If white Americans could accept the religion of Islam, if they could accept the Oneness of God (Allah) they too could then sincerely accept the Oneness of Men, and cease to measure others always in terms of their ‘difference in color’. And with racism now plaguing in America like an incurable cancer all thinking Americans should be more respective to Islam as an already proven solution to the race problem”