“We do not believe that America will ever be able to furnish enough jobs for her own millions of unemployed, in addition to jobs for the 20,000,000 Black people as well.” –What the Muslims Believe, by the Hon. Elijah Muhammad
If warning is mercy Black America should thank Almighty God for the divine warning she has received for over 70 years from the Nation of Islam. The Hon. Elijah Muhammad, a man mocked, laughed at and scorned as out of time, and his top student, the Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan, have become more important and their words more prophetic on a daily basis.
This little Black man from Georgia, who said he met with God, warned Black America for decade after decade that she had to do something for herself. He built an impressive economic empire to give an example of what could be done. Instead of applauding his work, detractors labeled him a “Black capitalist.”
Min. Farrakhan, following in the footsteps of his teacher, has repeated his spiritual father’s warning, reinstated the 3-Year Economic Program against poverty and want, and sought to build a Black United Front that would preserve, protect and defend Black interests, and other suffering people, while rebuilding the Nation for nearly 40 years. He has been roundly attacked, the Nation has been subjected to sanctions and any well-known person who would help has been threatened for “getting too close to Farrakhan.”
But today some two million Blacks, certainly an underestimate, are officially unemployed; hundreds of thousands of Blacks are in jails and prisons and maybe millions of disheartened people wonder what will happen as retirement funds dwindle, jobs evaporate, houses fall into foreclosure, factories close and pensions disappear.
What good is a warning to a people who refuse to listen? Blacks now get nearly a trillion dollars out of the economy each year. Are we not intelligent enough, disciplined enough, self-respecting enough to try to attract initially 10 percent of that amount, as Minister Farrakhan urged several years ago?
Are we waiting for every factory to shut down, every business to close? “A rash of new job data show the labor market is now the worst it’s been since the two prior recessions in 2001 and the early 1990s. One of the most stark indicators is that the number of people who have been unemployed for 27 weeks or more reached two million in September. That’s 21 percent of the total unemployed, and approaching the prior peaks of about 23 percent in 2003 and 1992. The prospects of these job seekers grow dimmer as layoffs spread beyond the financial, home-building and auto industries,” the Wall Street Journal reported Oct. 27.
Those are general numbers; Black unemployment is officially at 11.4 percent, not counting those too disgusted to look for work. An analyst with the Economic Policy Institute warned that things are going to get worse before they get better and no one has an answer to America’s overall economic illness–let alone the conditions plaguing the children of her once slaves.
It should be clear that doing for self and quickly finding the path to unity isn’t a novel idea or a pipe dream. Unity is critical for our survival. The only question is do we have the will to save ourselves?