Louis Farrakhan and Afrocentricity
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Communication 350 Louis Farrakhan and Afro-centricity Louis Farrakhan was born May 11, 1933, in The Bronx, N.Y. At the time of his birth, his given name was Louis Eugene Walcott (known as Gene). Farrakhan was raised by his mother in Roxbury, Mass. in a high disciplined and highly spiritual household. His mother believed in the value of work, responsibility and intellectual development. Having a strong sensitivity to the plight and misfortune of Black people, she engaged him in conversations regarding the struggle from freedom, justice and equality. During his early years, Farrakhan's childhood was filled with open rejection of African Americans in the neighborhood that he lived in, which was predominately Jewish. Couple with these experiences and the racial discrimination of the past, these experiences fueled his distain for whites and for the Jewish community. As the public knows him, Louis Farrakhan is the leader of the Nation of Islam (NOI) and is regarded as one of the world's most controversial Black speakers. He is widely known for his outspoken and candid speeches that many consider to be extremist rhetoric, which is consistent with racial and religious distain. Outside of these ideas, Minister Louis Farrakhan is one of the best known and most articulate Black Muslims in America. Described as a "self-avowed racist" after he called Judaism a "gutter religion", The Pope an "Anti-Christ", and Adolf Hitler a "wickedly great man", Farrakhan promotes Black separatism and self-reliance. He believes the in order for there to be any kind of positive social change in the Black community, they must first organize
114). In October of 1995, Farrakhan called upon at least one million African American men to converge in Washington, D.C., to reinvigorate their community through unity and harmony. The event in itself was an occasion that was set out to create a sense of solidarity among the Black community; primarily Black Men. Farrakhan called from "a million sober, disciplined, committed, dedicated, inspired Black Men", to show the public and our country that its image of Black Men (and the Black community) is greatly flawed. Marable stated: Farrakhan's message of personal responsibility, patriarchy, and racial self-help resonated so profoundly among millions of Black people. In the political consciousness of African Americans, distinct memories of earlier formations and movements with strikingly similar goals and objectives were persistent. The contemporary influence of Farrakhan can be understood only against the background of the inner history of black folk who, through their own experiences and in their own language, constructed an approach towards social development which would ensure their collective survival in a hostile world. Farrakhan's entire program, accompanied with the Million Man March presumes the permanent boundaries of race and racial antagonisms, and the patriarchal households within the Black community (Race & Class, pg. 6). While analyzing the event the Million Man March, I found that there was a sense of collectivity, solidarity, and harmony. Maulana Karenga stated that the march within itself was a "reaffirmation of our self-understanding as a people that we are our own liberators, that no matter how numerous or sincere our allies are, the greatest burdens to be borne and the most severe sacrifices to be made for liberations are essentially our own" (Black Scholar, pg.
The concept of Afrocentricity is extremely important simply because it argues that the main problem with African and the African American community has unconsciously adopted a Western worldview and perspective. It seems as if the ideals of the Western world has invaded and taken over and left the Black community to be relegated to the periphery of the European experience. In a sense, the idea of Afrocentricity aims to give the Africans and the Black community back its consciousness. Mazama states: Our liberation and Afrocentricity contends and rests upon our ability to systematically displace European ways of thinking, being, feeling, and so and consciously replace them with ways that are germane to our own African cultural experience (Journal of Black Studies, pg. 388). This idea expresses the importance and the significance of the Afrocentric idea, what it truly means and why it is such an important concept for the Black community. This analysis of Louis Farrakhan, the Million Man March and the criticism of Afrocentricity provide a better understanding as to how and why Farrakhan is a very important figure in the Black community. Not only is he a brilliant and diligent speaker, he provides insight on how and why the Black community need to come together as a collective unit in order to change the social injustices that have been forced upon them. Although he is exceptionally controversial and many of his speeches have been deemed extremist and separatist rhetoric, he has the influence to be recognized and respected as one of the greatest Black leaders worldwide.
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