Dr. Heather Laird: Critically Dissecting a White Muslim Woman’s Defense of Hamza Yusuf!



In a recent article, titled “It’s time for Muslim Americans to condemn Hamza Yusuf,” Dr. Maha Hilal called for Muslims to boycott conferences and events where Hamza Yusuf is scheduled to speak. [1] Such a call is long overdue. Black Muslims have been “making it plain” concerning Hamza Yusuf’s  wholesale disrespect of the Black community for a long time.

 Let us rewind. In 2016, Hamza Yusuf told a Muslim audience that the problem facing the Black community was not institutional racism but the breakdown of the Black family.   In his inability to recognize causality between institutional racism and the Black family, Hamza Yusuf directly insulted the legacy of Abu Bakr, an enslaved Black Muslim scholar who was kidnapped from Africa, forever  forcibly separated from his family, and whose slave narrative literally laments about the fact that Islam may not be in his family in future generations due to the oppressiveness of slavery.   Hamza Yusuf disrespected insulted Omar ibn Said, an enslaved African Muslim who could not maintain a family on the slave plantation because he and his children could be sold off to another slave plantation on a whim by the slave master. 

Hamza Yusuf directly disrespected Malcolm X, whose father was kidnapped by the Ku Klux Klan, tied on a railroad track, leaving the train to mutilate his body and decapitate Malcolm X’s beloved father.  This action left Malcolm X’s beloved mother Louise Little so mentally distraught that the last time Malcolm X visited his mother in a mental hospital, Louise Little was unable to recognize her own son. Unbeknownst to Hamza Yusuf, the breakdown of the Black family has historically been a product of institutional racism. 

In a later interview, Hamza Yusuf gave the non-sequitur response of “black on black crime” when asked about police brutality. In doing this, Hamza Yusuf disrespected the memory of Black Muslim slave rebels who were massacred by Police chief, Gonclaves Martins in the Bahia slave rebellions. Hamza Yusuf directly insulted the memory of Ronald Stoke and William X Rogers, Black Muslims who in an act of police brutality, were killed by Los Angeles Police officers, leaving Malcolm X completely distraught. Hamza Yusuf directed insulted the memory Amadou Dialla, a Black Muslim whom the New York Police Department shot at over 41 times. Black Muslim women such as Safiya Bukhari joined the Black Panther Party for Self Defense to combat police brutality.

Despite the fact that president Donald Trump endorsed stop and frisk against Black men, called Black countries shitholes, and advocated capital punishment for the innocent Central Park 5(whom DNA evidence exonerated), Hamza Yusuf called Trump a “servant of God.” Hamza Yusuf spoke of Donald Trump, despite his anti-black policies and serial adultery, as though he is somehow a man of taqwa or God-consciousness As an icing on the cake of Hamza Yusuf’s abominable anti-black track-record, Hamza Yusuf has now decided to join forces with the former director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo to serve forces with the Trump administration as a human rights adviser. For the sake of being brief, I will not recount the CIA’s long history of destabilizing black governments, its carrying out of assassinations of Black freedom fighters, or its  COINTELPRO program which sought to inhibit black liberation. 

Nonetheless, Black Muslims, including myself, rightfully spoke against Hamza Yusuf’s track record of white supremacy. As such criticisms were taking place,  Hamza Yusuf had an ardent defender in the Muslim community come to his defense. Her name is Dr. Heather Laird. She is the president of the Center for Muslim Mental Health and Islamic Psychology. In this article, I will respond to her criticisms. 


Wow! How can a Black Muslim critique of Hamza Yusuf’s racism be equated with “colonization” of Hamza Yusuf? It appears as though Dr. Heather Laird is trying to make Hamza Yusuf out to be some sort of “anti-colonial figure” up against a boogey-man black Muslim somehow trying to colonize him through a critique of his racism.    

 I am a Black Muslim.  I am critiquing political propositions advocated by Hamza Yusuf for upholding white supremacy. I am not reducing Hamza Yusuf to his skin color. I am speaking against political proclamations of Hamza Yusuf’s that reinforce negative stereotypes against Black people and which would maintain Black people in a state of subjugation.

Instead of acknowledging the racism of Hamza Yusuf, Dr. Heather Laird somehow insinuates that I am seeking to colonize him. Dr. Heather Laird does not know what colonization is and is simply throwing out terms without any regard for their meaning. In doing so, she downplays and minimizes the actual violence of colonization. 

Colonization is not Black people speaking against racism. Rather, colonization is the violence process by which a person’s land is usurped, their resources are siphoned, and their labor is exploited. Dr. Heather Laird’s sloppy usage of the term “colonization” in this manner underscores how destructive and violent colonization actually was. 

European settler-colonialism in the Americas resulted in the wholesale destruction and extinction of entire Native-American languages. European Zionist colonization of Palestinians violently removed entire people from their historic land and create an apartheid state. African tribes who were forcibly taken to the European settler colony of America had their languages and religions violently stripped from them. 

In How Europe Underdeveloped Africa, Walter Rodney accurately pinpoints how European colonization significantly reduced the quality of life in Africa and sets the precedent for starvation and other economic ills facing African countries today. Thus, the legacy of European colonization is that it fostered an asymmetrical relationship in wealth between Africa and Europe and destroyed cultures and languages. 

Dr. Heather Laird argues that I am exercising racism against Hamza Yusuf because I am a born brown Muslim and Hamza Yusuf is a white convert who is not  “willing to do exactly what you as a born Muslim want him to do.” To be clear, I’m not trying to micromanage Hamza Yusuf ‘s life nor do I seek to dictate every part of his daily routine.  I want Hamza Yusuf to stop being complicit in the oppression of Black people. I want Hamza Yusuf to not obfuscate police brutality against Black people. I do not want Hamza Yusuf to provide a token Muslim face to an anti-Black regime. This is consistent with the Islamic injunction forbidding oppression. Dr. Heather Laird is conflating a critique of white racism as somehow perpetuating racism. This fundamentally demonstrates that she neither understands racism nor colonization.

Strangely, Dr. Heather Laird is insisting that I am exercising racism against Hamza Yusuf yet she herself refuses to acknowledge Hamza Yusuf’s racism against Black people.  She insists that Hamza Yusuf remarks were taken out of context. Perhaps,Dr.Heather Laird can provide us with a proper context in which responding with black on black crime to police brutality should be viewed as anything other than reinforcing white supremacy. Lastly, Dr. Laird makes a particularly egregious statement: 



Dr. Heather Laird descended to vulgarity to imply my criticisms of Hamza Yusuf’s complicity in white supremacy is just “masturbat[ion] on social media.” As a Black Muslim, it is important for dawah purposes to restore Islam image within broader Black America. The Black Community must know Muslims are invested in confronting white supremacy and standing up on behalf of Black people. Dr. Laird decision to equate a Black Muslim male’s critique of white racism with an act of sexual self-stimulation for the purposes of ejaculation reinforces a litany of white supremacist tropes against Black men.  Dr. Heather Laird decision to reduce my critiques of Hamza Yusuf to just “masturbation”  inherently rely upon stereotypical tropes of black men as being the hypersexual brute.

Dr. Darrius Hills, a scholar of Black males studies, writes that white supremacy has reduced black men to the “mythic black phallus, implicating and reinscribing a racial legacy that frames black men as both hypersexual and perpetual rapists.”      In Dr. Heather Laird mind, my critiques of white racism cannot possibly be based in a desire to intellectually challenge white supremacist ideology. Rather, it is just a form “masturbation’ something which is rooted in sexual gratification.  White racism deserves to be critiqued when promulgated by Muslim public figures.


[1] I largely agree with the general call to boycott Hamza Yusuf. One of the many reasons the author, sister Dr. Maha Hilal,  cites for why the committee Hamza Yusuf is joining is problematic is that an individual on it opposed enshrining abortion as an international right. I do not agree that abortion should be enshrined as an international right. Nor do I believe that this is a valid criticism of the committee. As to the rest of the article, I am largely in full agreement. 


The Black Holocaust: 3 Racist Courtroom Decisions Relevant Today

American laws have historically been used to reinforce white supremacy and further the subjugation of Black people. In this article, Hakeem Muhammad documents several  horrendous court decision that set forth the precedent of legalizing the oppression of Black people.

Celia Vs. State Of Missouri

State of Missouri v. Celia, a Slave was a murder trial that took place in 1855. Celia’s slave master, Robert Newsom  repeatedly raped  her. One day,  Newson came into the cabin where Celia lived and made sexual advances. Celia rejected his sexual advances but Newson persisted. In response, Celia took a stick and hit him. Newsom tried to grab her and she continued to hit him with the stick eventually killing him.  Afterwards, Celia was brought up on murder charges and the court determined that Celia could not plead self defense. The court held that white slave masters had a right to rape their Black slaves and slaves could not resist. Sadiya Hartman, in Scenes of Subjection  writes that the court indicated, The enslaved could neither give nor refuse consent, nor offer reasonable resistance, yet they were criminally responsible and liable.” With a guilty verdict for murder, Celia would be hanged for her “crime.”


North Carolina v. Mann


In the case of North Carolina vs Mann, John Mann brutally lashed his slave Lydia. While being lashed, Lydia attempted to escape, whereupon Mann shot and wounded her. John Mann was indicted for assault and battery, the court dismissed the charges and Judge Ruffin declared, “The power of the master must be absolute, to render the submission of the slave perfect..” Judge Ruffin posits a “slippery slope’ argument stating that if white slave masters can be brought up on charges for shooting slaves, they could potentially be brought up on charges for any form of abuse, and that this would defeat the very essence of slavery.   In light of John Mann shooting a black woman, the court declared,”There is no remedy.”   

   Dred Scott Decision vs. Samford

In the case of  Dred Scott vs. Samford, Dred Scott freed for his from from slavery. His master, Scott Emerson, purchased him in a slave state of St. Louis, Missouri and subsequently moved to Illinois which had prohibited slavery in its territories. Dred Scott would sue for his freedom  and the question had hand was, did Dred Scott’s transfer to a free that entitle him to freedom. Supreme Court Justice, Roger B. Taney ruled that Blacks were,“regarded as beings of an inferior order” and had “no rights which the white man was bound to respect.”  The  court further ruled that Black people did not even have standing to bring a suit in court.


About: Hakeem Muhammad is a Black Freedom Fighter and every  racist White Settler Colonist’s worse nightmare.

Analyzing Bill Maher: Liberal White Supremacy

When people think of white supremacy, images of the Ku Klux Klan usually pop into their hands. They regard it as a belief which is now on the fringe, feeling that although maybe a few Neo-Nazis subscribe to it, it is generally an ideology that no longer has any influence on the world. This is a dangerous myth! White supremacy is a globalized political structure and the most destructive political system currently in operation in the world today. Yet, it has been so seeped into the world’s consciousness that many are unaware that it is not in fact the natural way of life.

As an example, in America, the political system, economic system, and judicial system is largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Native Americans who were the original inhabitants of the country. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. In Australia, the political, judicial, and economic systems are largely controlled and operated by the descendants of white Europeans—not the Australian aboriginals who were the original inhabitants of the land. This is not normal, nor should it be this way. Even in post-Apartheid South Africa, the descendants of white Europeans enjoy better living standards than the native black population, and control the majority of the economic infrastructure. This is not normal, nor should it be this way.

Additionally, Liberalism and white supremacy are not mutually exclusive and this can be vividly highlighted in the talk show statements of Bill Maher:

“Liberals need to stand up for liberal principles … freedom of speech, freedom to practice any religion you want without fear of violence, freedom to leave a religion, equality for women, equality for minorities. But then when you say in the Muslim world, ‘This is what’s lacking….’”

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression. White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

Bill Maher getting drunk on land stolen from native-americans instead of fulfilling his obligation to fight oppression.
White Hedonism exist upon the systemic oppression of black people.

The question for Bill Maher is: why are the original inhabitants of the United States, the Native Americans, a minority within their own land? It’s because of liberals like Thomas Jefferson, who supported the Indian removal act believing that Native Americans should be exterminated. Jefferson’s worldview stemmed from one of the most foundational philosophers of liberalism, John Locke, who invested in companies that partook in the transatlantic slave trade of black Africans.  It is a result of a worldview held by most liberal philosophers in which only whites were humans and thus fit for liberal rights. Yet, After centuries of enslaving Africans and the genocide of Native Americans, Bill Maher now says he believes in “equality for minorities.” What does the liberal notion of equality mean in any real sense? It’s a political abstraction that has no concrete tangible meaning.

To pass anti-discrimination laws after years of exploitation to solidify yourself on the top of the social hierarchy is one thing, but to actually relinquish power, wealth, and infrastructure that was inherited  unjustly is something else completely. No liberal would support any policy that seriously restructured society on a significant level; in fact, Native American thinkers such as Jodi Byrd state that the inclusion of Native Americans within liberalism is a continuance of this cultural genocide, as Native Americans had their own cosmologies and worldviews that were often completely antithetical to liberalism.

The danger behind Bill Maher’s statement is that he now utilizes the inclusion of Native Americans into liberalism(cultural genocide) as a reason to justify violence  against the non-Liberal Muslim World. In a further  interview with an African-American Muslim hip-hop artist, Mos Def, Bill Maher questioned him by stating:

The religion of Islam spread through the sword, spread through oppression. Have you read your history? What happened between 632 to 732 A.D.; 100 years they conquered the whole known world.

This is simply empirically false; no credible historian today can assert that Islam spread through the sword. Just take

Leading Atheist  "thinker"Christopher Hitchens doing what he does not  best: cigarettes and drinking.  European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of "freedom" exclusively the  white race  which is secured from the oppression of people of color.

European colonial expansion has secured liberal notions of “freedom” granting them exclusively to the white race which is secured from the oppression of people of color. Thus, enabling Leading Atheist “thinker”Christopher Hitchens doing what he does  best: using cigarettes and drinking.

Indonesia, which is home to the world’s largest population of Muslims—there was never any Muslim conquest of Indonesia. Islam spread to that area of the world from commerce and trade. Similarly, in West Africa, Islam spread through trade and commerce—not military conquest. Even more recently, according to the American Muslim council, 42% of Muslims in America are African-American, 24% are South Asian, and 12% are Arab. What Muslim general put a sword to the African-American population and made them undergo forced conversions? What Bill Maher is doing is projecting. Brother Mos Def should have asked Maher what happened in his European history between 1492 until now. Europeans actually came incredibly close to controlling the world.


The above map shows that only a few countries have been spared from European colonialism, and, as you can see, the Muslim/Arab world, Native-Americans, Australian Aboriginals, and Africans, all came under European domination. In fact upon the British-Dutch conquest of South Africa, they established an apartheid regime on their land in which blacks would be incarcerated for a variety of trivial offenses (including being unemployed). Modern day Muslim extremists are mostly a product of European colonialism, and yes they have committed inhumane atrocities—but they have a long, long, long way to go before they even come close to rivaling what Europeans have done and continue to do.

The Making of Chiraq

herb43The name Chiraq, which is frequently employed the black Chicagoans, has attracted much criticism, with some arguing that its utilization glorifies an urban culture of violence. Lil Reese, who grew up in the Englewood neighborhood of Chicago, describes his upbringing by forcefully testifying, “I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage […] Where I’m from? This Chiraq.” In numerous rap videos, these self-proclaimed savages residing within the enclave of Chiraq appear brandished with weapons that are suitable for military combat. Their T-shirts often have insignia that reads ”R.I.P______,” with the blank filled by the names of deceased peers. “Chiraq” is just one of many of these ghettos; the same lifestyle can be found in New Orleans, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Los Angeles, and other urban communities. In Lil Bibby’s pivotal track entitled “Raised Up,”  he asserts, ”We some savages, that’s what the hood made us.” Lil Bibby and Lil Herb describe the dominant mode of life in inner-city ghettoes, which is one of pure survival where youth must  bear the brunt of a chaotic environment that consists of coping  with the stress that comes with living in and out of jail, violently protecting ones stake in the drug market, and dealing with potentially lethal run-ins with law enforcement.

In the public’s imagination, these ghettoes are home to black welfare queens who are leeches on the economic system, as well as a remberinghadiya“black criminal deviant underclass” who carry out horrific acts of violence in the form of drive-by-shootings, car jackings, and burglaries. The linguistic choice to dub their areas of the city “Chiraq” by Chicago’s youth conveys a fundamental reality about the status of black Americans; it reveals that they constitute a segregated space in  the United states, effectively challenging the commonly held belief in the post-Civil Rights era of America in which  institutional racism is said to be gradually fading as we move towards a  more progressive society, heading more towards  accomplishing  Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s dream with every passing year. After the death of Chicago public school student Hadiya Pendleton, President Barack Obama made the tragic death a mere issue of “gun-violence” and utilized it to advocate tougher gun control legislation, without acknowledging the oppression that went into creating the violent conditions in her community.

The Violence that Created the Violence

chicagogreatmigrationThe ghetto and all of the sporadic anti-social behavior, which is a product of perpetual violence (both physical and institutional), continues to create the social conditions needed for gang conflicts. In 1870, after legal plantation slavery was abolished, 80% of black Americans resided in the rural south; these families were forced to endure an oppressive sharecropping system which had largely replaced slavery. They were marred in poverty with a lack of education while having to cope with a series of repressive black code laws which were the precursor to Jim Crow. During the great migration, African-Americans began moving to Chicago in search of better opportunities, but would instead be met with violence.


The White Circle League, formed with the mission of “keeping white neighborhoods free from negroes,” regularly terrorized Africanchicagoraceriots-Americans in Chicago.  Between 1917 and 1921, the bombing of African-American homes occurred once every twenty days on average. In 1919, an African-American boy who was swimming was killed as a result of whites throwing heavy rocks at him. When blacks sought to report the incident to police, they themselves were arrested while the white individuals who had killed this young man went unpunished.   As African-Americans began peacefully protesting, whites began to violently assault them, forming mobs that eventually sought to harm African-Americans through various avenues, from attacking patients in black hospitals to setting fire to the homes of blacks. The Irish Hamburg Athletic Club was among the groups who made an effort to kill many blacks; a man who would eventually become mayor decades later – Richard J. Daley – was an active member of this group. These violent attacks left many African-Americans homeless, causing them to lose the relatively small amount of wealth that they had come up north to accumulate. Furthermore, the Irish gangs who carried out these brutal attacks would in mass numbers be recruited to the Chicago Police Department.


cjocagpb;aclbe;tThe Chicago Housing Authority also implemented the “Neighborhood Composition Rule,” which ensured that blacks would be segregated and confined to housing in the black belt. The housing for black Americans lacked plumbing and was routinely neglected; the neighborhoods did not even receive the benefit of regular garbage disposal services. In addition to being near toxic waste dumps, the decrepit housing set aside for blacks drastically increased the levels of infant mortality.  Even after the neighborhood composition rule ended, whites would take to violence to ensure segregation.


In Englewood, the  birthplace of rappers Chief Keef & Lil Reese, was once a bastion of white supremacy. After African-Americans had
 merely visited the neighborhood, due to fears that a home was going to be “sold to niggers,” neighborhood associations campaigned with slogans like “America for whites, Africa is the onl y place for niggers.” One white person being interviewed argued that, “We don’t want them, we don’t want to live with them. I think they’re savages. ” With protest signs stating, ”Negroes Invading,” whites began the ‘Englewood Race Riots of 1949,’ not only carrying brutal acts of violence against African-American citizens, but also finding black residential homes to arson, which left many blacks dead, homeless, and losing all of their property. All of this set the precedence of the creation of the ghettos within the city due to the huge wealth loss that black families had struggled to gain. White Flight  took place and years later Lil reese would rap,”I lost so many niggas, turned into a savage. In real life, no movie shit, bitch we clap. Where I’m from? Chiraq.”

The Failure of Civil Rights

tenants A week after the assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King, Richard J. Daley, who was part of an Irish Club which routinely terrorized blacks, would become the Mayor, and his racism would be backed with institutional support. Daley ordered his police force and U.S. army troops to cripple and maim outraged black citizens. Nonetheless, African-Americans won some concessions; the Fair Housing Act was passed, allegedly attempting to address housing discrimination.Under the Fair Housing Act, African-Americans could sue if they were subjected to housing discrimination. However, such legislation did nothing on a practical level to restructure American society. Indeed, think about the capitol, time, and effort that the average African-American single parent would have to expend to pursue such a case in ‘job discrimination’ or ‘housing discrimination,’ all while struggling with what comes from living in the ghetto.


While the “No Niggers” signs and overt visible signs of racism declined, the act could do nothing to change the everyday racially discriminatory practices of realtors and city planners who would routinely blackhousign4operate along radicalized lines. Douglas S. Massey points out that realtors had unspoken assumptions in their clients’ interest which kept “unwanted” elements (blacks) out of affluent neighborhoods, fearing the professional repercussions from their clientele. This confirms that, despite legislative changes ending overt signs of racism, such legislation would have no effect in transforming the cultural attitudes and daily practices of institutions of city planning and realtors who would continue to operate along racist lines; in summation, relators were found to, and have continued to, keep African-Americans away from white neighborhoods despite the passing of the Fair Housing Act. The sociologist Douglas S. Massey concluded, “Since the passing of the Fair Housing Act, the level of black-white segregation has hardly changed.”

In fact, according to the current trend, blacks in Chicago will still compromise a segregated group as far into the future as 2042. Douglas Massey, states, ”Ironically, within a large, diverse, and highly mobile post-industrial society such as the United States, blacks living in the heart of the ghetto are among the most isolated people on earth.” Born witlilreesehout a silver spoon, in the ghetto, the typical lifestyle of a resident consists of languishing in run down areas, being pressured to hustle on the streets, carrying out “hits” to protect their block as a result of the lethal underground drug economy, all resulting in a continuous cycle of going in and out of jail; many individuals born in these areas know they may  face an early death, and they do not expect to live past eighteen.



The segregated status of black Americans, which separates them from white America, protects white Americans from the social violenceLeondore Draperproblems, drugs, gang wars, and violence, which are a result of an unjust social order. Meanwhile, innocent  African-American women, such as Chicago Public School Hadiya Pendleton, who was shot down by stray bullets on her way home from school, and Leondore Draper, who was shot coming back home from an anti-violence  campaign that she helped to organize, bear the brunt of a racially segregated society. The complicity and perpetration of this racial segregation includes both conservative right wing forces, many of whom deny racism is even a viable factor in the social mobility of blacks, often blaming “immoral black culture.” Also complicit are  liberal left wing forces seeking to liberalize America while  reinforcing the violence against African-American  by spreading the narrative of “steady progress” for blacks and thus obfuscating their true plight and the desperate living conditions they live within.



American Apartheid, Segregation and the making of the Underclass by Douglass S. Massey A. Denton

Making of the Second Ghetto, Race * Housing in Chicago 1940-1960 by Arnold R. Hirsch



The Social Contract of White Supremacy

locketwoIn the classical political treatise by Rousseau, he advocates “the Social Contract,” denoting an agreement among members of a society to cooperate for social benefits. In European history, such an idea is often lauded as a liberatory thought, one which would take European society away from the shackles of absolute rule by religion and into the “age of reason”; this period  would coincide with theEurocentric discourse with the belief that it creates a freer, more liberal, and just world order. In reality, this Social Contract, whether overt or unspoken, was designed to create a racial order in which consent was given to uphold an oppressive racial world rule.

Due to this social construct, Native Americans were placed largely on impoverished reservations (reservations auswhich encompass a nearly non-existent portion of the very land which was stolen from them originally); blacks, who were taken as slaves, now live largely in impoverished ghettoes; and the Australian Aboriginals live largely on the periphery of society with the resources of their lands largely in the hands of the white settler population. Rousseau’s concept of the Social Contract was allegedly by citizens giving the government the consent to govern them. Yet, it was only whites who were recipients of this, and non-white races would be tyrannized; the reality is that this agreement was one made by Europeans between one another to uphold white supremacy.

lockethreeWhite world-white supremacy is often seen as a political belief on the fringe of society reserved for some Klu Klux Klan members or uneducated Neo-Nazis. Liberals write racism off as a product of mere ignorance about other races that can be remedied through education and increased dialogue with minorities. This is falsehood as white supremacy is not a fringe belief but rather an integral and explicit element of the political thought of the most ‘enlightened’ European philosophers, such as John Locke, Voltaire, and Immanuel Kant.  Yet, Socialism, Liberalism, and Democracy are often taught as political philosophies in college and university classes, but are not the political system which truly governs the world which is white supremacy.

Charles Mills notes that, “This omission is not accidental. Rather, it reflects the fact that standard textbooks and courses have for the most part been written and designed by whites, who take their racial privilege so much for granted that they do not seven see it as political, as a form of domination. Ironically, the most important political system of recent global history— the system of domination by which white people have historically ruled over and, in certain important ways, continue to rule over nonwhite people-it is not seen as political at all.” This unnamed political system of white supremacy has instituted a Social Contract in which ‘whites’ are seen as the neutral political subject, so as Charles Mills argues, we often hear the phrase ’we the people,’ which in reality and historically has meant ’we the white people who uphold the social construct of white supremacy.’ In ‘The Racial Contract’ by Charles Mills, the author asks the rhetorical question:

“How is that a formerly peripheral region on the outskirts of the Asian land mass, at the far edge of the trade routes, remote from the great civilizations of Islam… was able in a century or two to achieve global political and economic dominance?”

The answer to this question in European discourse has been that they were innovative, hard working or, as lockeoneCharles Murray has often argued in the Bell Curve, other races simply had lower IQs; whites, on the other hand, apparently inherently had special genes which gave them the edge. The reality is the ascendency of Europeans to world hegemony has absolutely nothing to do with high levels of European intelligence; rather, their willingness to utilize violence and overtly cruel actions has aided them in gaining their social status. European Imperialism, The Transatlantic Slave Trade, Jim Crow, Apartheid in South Africa, were all solidified via the Social Contract of white supremacy. Native Americans were portrayed as savages and massacred; blacks were seen as barbarians and “jigaboos.” The rise of Europe is attributed to the violent colonialism against non-white people of the world; the majority of western philosophical thought was not about freedom, justice and equality for all, but for freedom, justice, and equality for white people at the expense of non-whites.

Whites have a conception of linear progress which is often viewed as based upon the construction of more ageofreason4technology and other materialistic affairs. Racist polemics, such as Charles Murarry or Pat Buchanan, who go on about the great wonders created by the white race utilize the advances in science and technology to bolster the idea of the alleged superiority of the white race while demonizing  other cultures. Yet, the way of life of the western world simply cannot be maintained. If everyone conquered other people utilizing the world’s resources to create the various technologies that the European world has, the world and the environment as we know it would be decimated. In fact, due to European technology, we now look forward to a world ravaged by environmental pollution and global warming due to the impact that all of this “progress” is having on the environment. Moreover, non-white people are treated as the dumpsite for the superior technology of the white “master race.” Donovan Marks notes

“ Three out of the five largest commercial hazardous waste landfills in the United States are located in mostly Black or Hispanic communities; these landfills account for 40 percent of the nation’s estimated landfill space.”

This unnamed political system of white supremacy is wreaking havoc on people of color making them victims of the prison industrial complex to the economic benefit of rich white elites, impacting the environments in the form of global warming and the species of the world due to its technology, and poverty and destruction all over the world. Thus, this Social Contract must be broken for the sake of a better world.


Yurugu: An African-Centered Critique of European Cultural Thought and Behavior 1994

The Racial Contract By Charles W. Mills

Malcolm X To Lupe: Speaking Truth to Power

Malcolm X to Lupe, Islam & the U.S. Empire

Malcolm Little was born in the belly of the beast – a white supremacist American society. He was disenfranchised and exploited, and was living in an internal colony. His father was killed by the Ku Klux Klan, and subsequently his mother was placed in an asylum home for the mentally ill. Though he received better grades than his white peers in school, when he told the school staff he wanted to be a lawyer, his white teacher scoffed at him and told him that as a negro he would be better off working with his hands. Eventually, Malcolm Little would earn the nickname Detroit Red as he involved himself in gambling, robbery, prostitution and other vices, and he soon became a victim of the prison-industrial complex. While in prison, Detroit Red became Malcolm X, converting to Islam and he began devoting himself to knowledge by studying U.S. history, philosophy, and even memorizing the dictionary. Malcolm X came out of prison an incredibly learned man and became a vocal advocate for oppressed black people in the United States. Malcolm X was assassinated, but his legacy has influenced African-American culture greatly.


The hip-hop artist Nas once stated, ”Rap became a version of Malcolm ” Hip-hop is an art form which emerged in the ghetto and gave disenfranchised youth a voice to express their politics and their beliefs  or ‘speak truth to power’- something they were denied in mainstream American society. Thus, hip-hop was an extension of the tradition of black political defiance of Malcolm X. As Malcolm X was getting out of jail, another influential thinker visited America. Sayyid Qutb visited the U.S. and critiqued American society for its materialism and what he essentially saw as a hedonist lifestyle lived by members of the west. Qutb would eventually become the leader of the still influential organization in Egypt: the Muslim Brotherhood. What’s often ignored is the anti-blackness which exists Sayyid Qutb’s critique of American culture. He would write:
The American is primitive in his artistic taste, both in what he enjoys as art and in his own artistic works. “Jazz” music is his music of choice. This is that music that the Negroes invented to satisfy their primitive inclinations, as well as their desire to be noisy on the one hand and to excite bestial tendencies on the other.

Sayyid Qutb, one of the most influential Islamic thinkers, believed that jazz was invited by negroes due to their primitiveness and beast-like nature. To hip-hop artist Nas, whose father is an African-American Muslim jazz musician, jazz music was a part of a black oratory tradition for political expression for those who were given no voice. He states, ”Bridging the gap from the blues, to jazz, to rap. The history of music on this track.”  Muslims in the Middle East have been utterly silent on the anti-blackness in their societies, such as the frequent occurrence of calling of blacks abeed (meaning slave) at Hajj, as well as the anti-black prejudice among one of the most influential “Islamist” thinkers, Sayyid Qutb. These individuals will evoke Bilal and Malcolm X’s letter after going to Hajj to selectively to demonstrate how racially inclusive Islam is, while being silent on the racial injustices in their societies today.  Dabashai Notes:

Islam for Malcolm X was an equally combative occasion, but as an infinitely more liberating, progressive, alive, and living organism. In more than 200 years of encounter with colonial modernity, and literary hundreds of radical Muslim thinkers, no Muslim revolutionary comes even close to Malcolm X in the liberating, global, and visionary grasp of his faith and its place in facing the barefaced barbarity of economic and military world domination…. If Islam does not have anything to say or to offer to these disenfranchised communities…   without asking them to convert to Islam, then it is nothing but the fatuous  faith of the Khaliji, Kuwaiti, and Saudi sheikhs having difficulty bending their overfed bellies when pretending to prostrate to pray, or else the rambling gibberish of Osama bin Laden and Mulla Omar when replicating the American neocons in their advocacy of terror. There is another Islam unknown to those crooked bodies… the Islam of Malcolm X.”

In the  tradition of Malcolm X and an anti-racist and anti-imperialist tradition that has emerged in the African-American tradition. Lupe Fiasco, whose real name is Wasalu Muhammad Jaco, was s a rapper who grew up in Chicago and has arguably been the most politically vocal artists since Tupac Shakur. The son of a Black Panther, his lyrics blend together critiques of U.S. state racism, American foreign policy, and Muslim extremism. Lupe writes, ”I grew up in the hood around prostitutes, drug dealers, killers, and gangbangers, but I also grew up juxtaposed. On the doorknob outside of our apartment, there was blood from some guy who got shot; but inside, there was National Geographic magazines and encyclopedias and a little library bookshelf situation. And we didn’t have cable, so we didn’t have the luxury of having our brains washed by MTV.” Lupe Fiasco states he was influenced to rap after listening to Nas’ “It Was Written,” who was also  influenced by  Malcolm X .

“G’s up along with Muhammad and Jesus
In the Quran they call him Isa
Don’t think Osama and sadaam are is our leader.”

This makes it clear that, as a Muslim, Osama is not his leader. In another song, Lupe states, “Jihad is not holy war. Where’s that in the worship? Murdering is not Islam! And you are not observant. And you are not a Muslim.” This is a message to all extremist vigilante groups who misuse Islam to carry out violent attacks against innocent lives. Yet, Lupe does not stop there – his lyrics also condemn U.S. foreign policy and the military industrial complex, stating, ”I really think the war on terror is a bunch of bullsh*t. Just a poor excuse for you to use up all your bullets.”  Lupe Fiasco then argues that:


“Limbaugh is a racist, Glenn Beck is a racist
Gaza strip was getting bombed, Obama didn’t say sh*t
That’s why I ain’t vote for him, next one either
I’ma part of the problem, my problem is I’m peaceful”

Lupe Fiasco criticizes right-wring television cast while also condemning Obama for allowing Muslims in lupefiascioPalestine to be bombed. Interestingly enough, Lupe Fiasco condemns Osama for not being “observant,” and the reality is that Muslim vigilante groups are not fundamental to Islamic text – rather, they are reformists who break Islam’s clear prohibitions to justify war tactics that Islam finds despicable.  Through Lupe Fiasco, the revolutionary politics of Malcolm X is alive and well.


Islamic Liberation Theology: Resisting the Empire: Hamid Dabashi

All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1


Chief Keef is America’s Nightmare.  When I say America’s nightmare I’m talking about white and Black America.   This guy is a live and breathing  monster stereotype that absolutely scares  anyone who catches a glimpse of him and his GBE crew on YouTube, Instagram and Twitter.  Did I say that Chief Keef don’t has no care?  Ask Hip Hop’s bad boy 50 Cent, recently at a planned Las Vegas video shoot with 50 Cent and Wiz Khalifa,   Chief Keef blew off the video shoot and never showed up.  Ask socially conscious rapper Lupe Fiasco, he and Chief Keef got into a verbal war and the results went something like this,  “Lupe Fiasco is a H– O—E—, When I see him I’ma smack him like da lil b-tch he is”, responded Chief Keef.   His record label Interscope Records is betting millions that Chief Keef’s “I Don’t give a CARE attitude pays off big time in digital sales, concert fee’s, cd sales, etc.  Chief Keef is set to release his debut CD, “Finally Rich” on December 18.   In his gritty low budget video’s, you see a young black man , half-naked, dreadlocked hair, frequently surrounded by a mob of look-a-likes, smoking blunts and brandishing weapons.  His current single “Love Sosa” is another urban tale that’s not only playing across the country in heavy rotation on American radio stations , but the video has been seen by over 14 million viewers since the time of this writing.  Born Keith Cozart, and raised in the South Side of Chicago, he was constantly surrounded by horrifying homicides that rival war-town Iraq.
“Fucking with those O boys, you gon’ get fucked over, Rari’s and Rovers, these hoes love Chief Sosa, hit him with that cobra, now that boy slumped over, they do it all for Sosa” are the words of Chief Keef, a Chicago based

rapper allegedly affiliated with the Black Disciples gang and who has already faced incarceration for brandishing a gun at a Chicago Police Officer during his teenage years.   Lt. John Andrews, a veteran of the Chicago Police Department, writes that, “Chicago’s homicide rate this year currently stands toe-to-toe with the total number of military forces killed in both Afghanistan and Iraq.” This rising epidemic has resulted in Chicago being the nicknamed, ‘Chiraq’ by urban youth.  Chief Keef and many others like him has embraced this image, taking pride in representing the strength of his block and crew by stating very clearly and plainly,  You wanna call the cops? You gonna get a cop dropped.” The Chicago Police Department should have heeded this black man’s words. Lt John Andrew further writes that, “Chicago has lost 3 of its police officers, killed by gunfire as victims of robberies.  It seems no one is safe in our city anymore.” This Chicago based rapper like so many hip hop stars, embrace the Italian and Latin gangsters influence on American culture

 Chief Keef  AKA Sosa,  represents the mentality that many gang-bangers uphold in the Southside of Chicago; a mentality that has no regard for human life, no respect for authority, little aspirations beyond the nearest street corner. And because of this, Chief Keef’ is absolutely necessary in the rap-game. Album’s like ‘KRS-One’s Criminal Minded and 50 Cent’s Get Rich or Die Trying’ all represent the mentalities born and bred from a life of oppression. This mentality has thrived and even grown due to state-sanctioned institutionalized racism, inequalities, and poverty that continue to be passed on through particular ethnic groups. Watch a Chief Keef music video; view members of his crew. Look past all of the macho-posturing and you will see people who are profoundly oppressed, faces that are downtrodden, faces that rarely smile and people whom have lived life in utter poverty, violence, and hardships. The South Side of Chicago is home to some of the lowest income communities in America. The area is, and has been, facing chronic unemployment, run-down schools, substandard housing, and a whole host of related social problems. Chicago Gang researcher, John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods resemble impoverished Third World countries.” These are the social conditions that Chief Keef to no fault of his own was born in and his mentality and lyrics are simply a response to this. Chief Keef, represents this ostracized generation, his music represents this mentality and as long as oppression exists so too will Chief Keef and others like him.

“300 bitch don’t make me bring them killers out. Real shit, free all my hitters out.”

When Chief Keef calls for the freeing of all of his ‘hitters,’ he is referring to members of his crew that are incarcerated, victims of the prison-industrial complex. Chicago Gangs primarily consist of black youth who have been systematically excluded from the legal economy and have been forced to sell drugs, pimp, and steal as the only mechanisms to survive and aspire towards life goals. Many manufacturing jobs that were once located in black communities have now been outsourced to China. Indeed, African-Americans without criminal records are less likely to be hired than whites with criminal records. African Americans with “black sounding” names are less likely to be called back for job interviews.  than those with “white sounding” names, even when the qualifications are identical.  As black youth becomes accustomed to the street market, competition is not carried out in the form of price cuts and ad campaigns.  Gang members compete over territory to sell their products and services. With no other source of income, protecting ones block or corner becomes a matter of life and death. When Chief Keef states “don’t make me bring those killers out,” he is issuing a warning to rival gangs to not set up shop on his block. Of course, the conservative argument is for one to simply “pull up their boot straps.”
A commonly held belief by those untouched by the issues that blacks deal with from birth is that “just because someone is born into poverty does not mean one has resort to the drug trade.” And this is true.  However, using common sense, how likely is it for a white man raised in middle to upper class, whose peers are largely composed of other whites raised in the same socioeconomic environment, to set up shop on a street corner ready to begin selling crack cocaine? How likely is it for an impoverished black man to make it a primary goal to impress his school teachers or job supervisor when the strongest influences around him are those who’ve already been shunned by white society? Indeed, the black community has routinely overcome overwhelming odds to create prosperous communities.  African-Americans seeking to escape southern racism came to Chicago during the “Great Migration.” Blacks were forced to live mostly in the Southside of Chicago and a legislation known as the “Neighborhood Composition Rule” mandated housing segregation for Blacks. The housing that the Chicago Housing Authority created for blacks in these Southside neighborhoods lacked basic plumbing and would not even receive the benefits of garbage disposable services.  Despite the overwhelming odds, black people were able to establish their own businesses and create flourishing community centers. However, after the Neighborhood Composition Act legally enforcing residential segregation was struck down due to the Civil Rights Movements, white vigilantes responded with savage violence.

Mobs of whites invaded the South Side of Chicago, setting fire to houses and businesses, finding and beating innocent black citizens and other brutal, barbaric acts. Even as the South Side of Chicago was being set ablaze, the Chicago Fire Department refused to put out the flames and the Chicago Police Department put in no effort in to protect these innocent people who were being terrorized. Many African-Americans in the South Side subsequently became homeless and lost all that they had—from these ashes and social conditions are what gave birth to Chief Keef and his peers. The Irish terrorists that attacked the black community were rewarded by Chicago’s governmental system by recruiting the young energetic whites into the Chicago Police Department; it should be no great surprise that future Mayor, Richard Daley, participated in these attacks on the black community.

“Bang, Bang, Bang” is Chief Keef’s catch phrase, his mantra in the rap game. It’s an onomonopia representing gunshots.  Chicago’s babies do not fall asleep to lullabies; rather to gunshots.  Day by day, it is a never-ending cycle all rooted in economic deprivation and oppression.  Hip Hop’s culture historically have identified with youth that have been systematically excluded from the legal economy, the explicit and often times provocative lyrics of Chief Keef results.  His lyrics,  his words, and the images of his videos represent an ostracized generation of America- a generation bearing the brunt of years of racial apartheid and economic discrimination in which all opportunities for social-economic advancement were blocked, halted, and destroyed by whites. American capitalism and the inequalities it produces are responsible for the content, as vulgar as it may be, in his lyrics, “I’mma make bullets rain all on your block, your bitch all on my cock”.  He is describing what it takes fo hisr crew and himself to eat, to be clothed and have shelter.

Chief Keef represents hip hop, from the bodacious, self-assured, get money to big pimping mentality.  However before one judge and castes “Chief Keef” as a misfit, hoodlum or savage, recognize that faces like Chief Keef don’t die, they multiply and he is simply a by-product of his environment, just like you.


Third World America, http://www.huffingtonpost.com/janet-tavakoli/third-world-america-2012_b_1653745.html

Click to access emilygreg.pdf

Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960″, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?

Click to access pager_ajs.pdf


RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf


Chiraq’s Child Soldiers

Think back to when you were nine years old. At this age, most kids in America are able to live care free, jovial lives contemplating about what cool new gadget they want from Santa for Christmas. For African-Americans in urban areas throughout America, their experience is totally different. When Robert ‘Yummy’ Sandifer was only nine years old, he had already been in and out of jail multiple times, deeply involved in the South Chicago street life, committing a series of armed robberies and arsons. Yummy, hadn’t even reached his teenage years before he began carrying out murders for his local gangs. Worse yet, he didn’t even live to reach his teenage years[1].

At 4’6, he was armed with loaded guns and not even remotely afraid to use them. He received the nickname ‘Yummy’ due to his love for junk food.  He lived his life as a drug dealer causing terror in his community by breaking into houses and stealing cars. Before reaching 5-feet tall, he was already putting people 6 feet in the ground. He committed recorded 23 felonies and 5 misdemeanors while carrying out his missions for his local gang.  The only picture available of him available of him on the net is a Mugshot—a photo that showcases pain, anguish, and depression. This same face and mentality can also be seen in Chief Keef rap videos[2].

This should come as no surprise. Both Chief Keef and Yummy are from the same Southside neighborhood in Chicago, and both are
members of the Black Disciples. Yummy was killed in 1994, about a year before Chief Keef was born in mid-1995.The same narrative of drug leading, shooting, and criminal activities that are found in many of Chief Keef’s videos and other Hip-Hop lyrics are the only imagery that Yummy knew his entire life.

From uppitynegronetwork.files.wordpress.com

After Yummy shot and killed a fourteen year old, child police went on a manhunt searching relentlessly for him. It was soon discovered that members of his own Black Disciple Gang executed him fearing that he would become a snitch to the police and reveal secrets about their drug trade.

This is what the conditions of poverty fostered by racial segregation produce.

Rapper Tupac Shakur was deeply touched by Yummy Sandifer’s story.  In his ‘White Man’s World” song Tupac gave his condolences by Yummy:

“Rest in Peace to Latasha, Little Yummy, and Kato. Too Much for this cold world to take, ended up being fatal.”  [3]


The song then ends with a beautiful, eloquent excerpt of a speech by Louis Farrakhan stating that “the seal and the constitution reflect the thinking of the founding fathers that this was to be a nation by white people and for white people. Native Americans, Blacks, and all other nonwhite people were to be the burden barriers for the real citizens of this nation.”

The truth is Yummy Sandifer never had a chance to succeed in this white man’s world, even in the post-Civil-Rights Era. Yummy was born to a 15 year old crack addicted prostitute and an incarcerated father.

That crackhead, or drug junkie, you see on the streets started off life no different from me or you.   That person also had dreams, aspirations, goals, hopes, and loved ones at one point in their life.    People in urban areas often turn to Marjuana, Cocaine, Crack and alcohol in an attempt to help them cope with or temporarily relieve themselves of the stresses and pains that they face every-day under this capitalistic society[4].  This is a reason why ‘loud a type of Marjuanna’ is such a huge subject of Chief Keef rap videos.

Yummy was abused from an early age, having over 40 scars and parts of his skin burnt from cigarettes.  He was eventually placed under the care of the state; once he escaped from his governmental mandated foster home he quickly took to the streets. [5]

Hardaway, who was convicted for Yummy’s murder at fourteen years old, had this to say from prison:

“Yummy was the average black kid growing up in a drug infected community. It’s millions of Yummy’s it’s just that Robert Sandifer gained national attention. He was an impressionable kid who looked up to everyone that was in the streets. I knew him but he was a kid to me. I was a kid myself but I was older and involved in a lot more stuff.” [6]

Indeed, there are millions of black children in urban areas throughout America, especially in the Southside of Chicago, who hang out on street corners, looking up to nobody but gang members and the illegal drug economy as the only mechanism to attain things that most whites have handed to them at birth— things like food, clothing, and shelter.  Like Yummy, Hardaway is also a victim; a victim of a racist, capitalist society that created the conditions where an illegal economy was the only way to provide for loved ones and have the basic necessities of life.  You can tell by the tone of Hardaway quote that he is fully capable of being rehabilitated, becoming a productive member of society.

Big L, in his song, ‘How Will I Make It” portrays a similar narrative:

“I’m only at the age of ten and life already seems to me like its heading for a dead end. Cause my moms be smoking mad crack… Nobody know how I feel … I had to steal to fill my stomach with a nice meal… I rob for meat. If I don’t steal I don’t eat. My whole life deserted. Either Imma go to jail or get murdered. All I tried to do was live the one life that I got. But it seems like I can’t get a fair shot.” [8]

From Hip-HopGame.com

Indeed, Yummy, Big L, and millions of unnamed inner-city black youth never had a fair shot in this country, yet America deludes itself as the foremost purveyor of freedom in the world. White Liberals adamantly believe that black people are making ‘steady progress’ in this country often pointing to blacks in ‘high places’ such as Colin Powell, Oprah Winfrey, and, of course, the President Barack Obama. White Republicans, despite being a cesspool for vicious racists, refuse to give credence to the notion that systematic racism severely restricts the social mobility of African-Americans.

Both of these parties believe that the discrimination, oppression, and disenfranchisement of African-Americans was just a misunderstanding rather than a core element of the U.S. capitalist, imperialist system. The reality is that Civil Rights legislation was never passed for altruistic reasons and the condition of black people in urban areas of America has not improved at all since the civil rights legislation was passed – and this is no accident.

White people did not suddenly have a change of heart and decide to give black people rights—the American government acted in their own self-interest.  During the ‘Cold War,’  America and the Soviet Union were battling over competing ideologies both seeking to establish an imperialistic grip on the world. The American government branded itself the epitome of freedom and democracy while casting the Soviet Union as a communist, totalitarianism regime devoid of human rights and freedoms.  [9]

But then  the Soviet Union began to use video footage of African-Americans in the south having their flesh ripped into and eaten by vicious canines. America could no longer tell the world it was the epitome of human rights and freedom while subjugating its black population to this type of open overt torture and suffering without appearing like a hypocritical liar—thus, superficial changes had to be made in the power structure of America and the manner in which it carried out its oppression against black people. This was one factor that contributed to the passage of Civil Rights legislation.  [10]

Another factor that contributed to the decline of overt institutional racism against blacks was the threat of violence from blacks. After the cold blooded assassination of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., [11] blacks in urban areas throughout America were outraged.  The government referred to the actions of African-Americans after King’s death as ‘riots’ rather than what they really were: rebellions!

Thus, something had to be done to appease blacks and quick; as blacks were heading towards a revolutionary path, something had to be down for America to gain an edge in this ideological war against the Soviet Union to not look absolutely ridiculous when proclaiming it was the leader of human rights and freedoms—thus Civil Rights legislation was passed.

Civil Rights legislation did a much better job at pacifying African-Americans than it ever did at putting an end to racial inequality, discrimination, and racism. In every area of American society from housing to health-care to employment opportunities, black people still face discrimination to this day. Civil Rights legislation was never adamantly enforced.  Chicago is among the most segregated cities in America. As whites live lavishly on the Northside, impoverished Blacks have been suffering on both the South and Westside for decades.  [12]

When Dr. Martin Luther King first came to Chicago he did so to protest housing segregation and the substandard housing of Chicago’s black population. White residents threw rocks at him while others held signs in protest, one reading, “Roses are red. Violents are Black. King would look good with a Knife in his back.” They then led a cheer saying ‘Kill Him!, Kill Him. [13]Over 40 years later, Southside Chicago neighborhoods are nicknamed in the streets (and for good reasons) as Terrortown and Killaward – areas that are just as ‘substandard,’ or perhaps more so, than when King took part in his first protest.  When a reporter asked Chief Keef how dangerous the Southside of Chicago was he simply responded with one word: “Chiraq.” Nothing has changed-  nothing.


1)The Washington Syndicate,True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer, http://thewashingtonsyndicate.wordpress.com/2011/01/21/true-crime-the-forgotten-story-of-robert-%E2%80%9Cyummy%E2%80%9D-sandifer/

2) All Hail Chief Keef, Public Enemy #1, http://hakeemmuhammad.com/2012/11/28/all-hail-chief-keef-public-enemy-1/

3) Tupac, White mans world, http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/2pac/whitemansworld.html

4) Black Anarcism, Lorenzo Ervin, http://libcom.org/library/anarchism-black-revolution-lorenzo-ervin

5)The Washington Syndicate True Crime: The Forgotten Story of Robert “Yummy” Sandifer



7) Bob Avakian, Youth Deserve a better future,  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk

8) Big L, How Will I make It, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BL9l5CojBNQ

9) Bob Avakian, Revolution Talk.  http://www.youtube.com/user/RevolutionTalk


11) Peter Gelderloos,What is Democracy,  http://theanarchistlibrary.org/library/peter-gelderloos-what-is-democracy

12)Chicago Most Segregated City, http://chicagoist.com/2010/10/31/chicago_still_the_most_segregated_c.php

13,MLK, 2009 http://www.secretsocietymusic.org/darcy_james_argues_secret/2009/01/mlk-2009.html

Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism


            Chicago’s Gangs: A Product of Institutionalized Racism

Chicago is a city infamous for its ruthless gang violence. Even after much legislation attempting to solve the problem, gang warfare is still a destructive force in Chicago’s culture. It continues to squeeze the life out of black youth whose blood has been splattered all across Chicago’s streets. Many black youth grow up in abject poverty and see only two paths for their future: prison or death.Their mothers feel hopeless, as they stand unable to stretch their money for electricity, rent, insurance and food. Black communities endure subpar living conditions as seen through the decaying housing, substandard schools, drugs, and poverty. After examining these appalling social conditions, people often claim that the gangs that terrorize the community with violence are attributed to some “innate”delinquency or aggression amongst black youth. In reality, Chicago street gangs are a product of social conditions created by institutional racism, police brutality, and white vigilantism. Chicago’s state-sanctioned racism produces “thugs” and systematically strips the morality from people and replaces it with a stone cold heart that is seen as necessary to survive on these mean streets.Blacks have been systematically disempowered and live in the most violent areas, not because we are “naturally” aggressive, but because of economic conditions that have been imposed on us by  malicious outside forces.  The obstacles that were, and still are, put in place,  to halt black socioeconomic aspirations,  has resulted in black youth  acquiring detrimental social, economic, and political habits that are exemplified in the gangs that roam Chicago’s streets. The gangs that we have in our community, the bloody knives that lay astray in the pavement, the white chalk on our sidewalks, the yellow tape surrounding vacant lots, and the rapid succession of bullets that are fired at one another are the cumulative effects of systematic institutionalized racism.

                         Chicago: A History of Racist Brutality

 African-Americans that previously resided in the Klan-run South came to Chicago during the great migration, lured in by the promises of jobs and political rights. However, these opportunities were systematically denied. Since blacks have entered this city they have been met with a level of bigotry so disgusting, and so pervasive, that it is a core aspect of Chicago’s culture. African-Americans seeking tocreate a better life would still face the very same racism and violence they found in the south. However, instead of it being by the Klan, it would be by the Chicago Housing authority and white mobgroups. [1]

When blacks first came to Chicago they competed with the Irish over a scarce labor and housing market. In 1919, racial animosity reached a boiling point when a white person hit a blackchild with a rock while he was swimming in Michigan Lake. The black child drowned to death, but the Chicago Police Department refused to arrest the white aggressor. Blacks led a peaceful protest demanding justice, and as a result of their efforts they were viciously attacked by white mob groups. Whites entered the predominately black area on the Southside, terrorizing the black population through arsons and assaults. [2] Nobody, not even children, were spared in the attacks. They even sought to enter a predominately black hospital to terrorize the black patients there. As whites continued to set fire to black neighborhoods, the Chicago Fire Department was not allowed to operate in these communities. [3] Hundreds of African Americans, including women and children, were left homeless on the streets after fires demolished their homes in these senseless attacks. Richard J. Daley was 17 years old at the time and one of the leaders of the Irish Hamburg Athletic Club that led this senseless attack on the black community.  Instead of being punished for these clearly racist attacks, he was made Mayor of Chicago, where he would continue to push and support racist legislation to disenfranchise the black community. [4] Indeed, the white-ran Chicago housing authority from its inception worked to ensure that blacks lived in segregated neighborhoods.

Blacks were confined to the Southside and these areas were treated with inconceivable neglect by government agencies. The “Neighborhood Composition Rule” ordered that housing was to be segregated. This resulted in Black people being segregated in the Southside in what is known as “The Black Belt.”[5] Of course, all of the housing that the Chicago Housing Authority set aside for blacks was decrepit; many apartments lacked plumbing, were overcrowded, and far below requirements for healthy sanitation.[6] Even wealthy blacks were forced into substandard neighborhoods due to racial discrimination. As a direct result of these social conditions, the infant mortality rate for blacks sky-rocketed to well above the national average. Eventually, the neighborhood Composition rule was eventually struck down. This was met by complete outrage by white vigilante groups who, once again, terrorized the local black population with heartless violent confrontations. While blacks were portrayed as being “violent”, many times it was not the “delinquent” black youth attacking innocent peaceful white people but vice-versa. Indeed, during this time blacks lived under increased threats of violence and fear from whites. Blacks had no choice but to live in the ghetto because of the terrorism inflicted by whites against those would dared to live on the outskirts of their state created locus. [7 ]During these times, overt discrimination against blacks reigned supreme in every area of Chicago’s society, such as employment, housing, health care, and every other opportunity for upward social mobility.

Modern Day Disenfranchisement of Blacks in Chicago

In America, the common belief is that Civil Rights legislation ended discrimination against African-Americans. The fact of the matter is that blacks in Chicago are still discriminated against at unprecedented levels!

Health Care

Discrimination and apartheid-like conditions characterize Chicago’s health-care system. Despite there being high levels of violence and shootings on the Southside, there is no trauma center to operate on victims, leaving youth to die in the streets. Yet, there are plenty of hospitals and trauma centers in affluent white areas despite the low levels of violence. [8] Blacks that are exposed to this violence develop post-traumatic stress disorder, similar to troops returning from combat. For many it isn’t “post-trauma” but a continuous cycle[9]. In spite of this, Rahm Emmanuel has plans to close down mental health facilities in Chicago’s low income areas.[10]  In the current hospitals located in Chicago, blacks face rampant discrimination. Several studies have indicated that black patients receive excessive wait times and have been subject to expensive deposit requirements prior to treatment. [11] According to a study from UCLA, researchers found that racial discrimination is the key factor in explaining why blacks suffer from diabetes, cardiovascular disease, heart disease, and strokes, more than any other population. [12]  However, this discrimination not only affects patients, but also workers. Jackson Park Hospital has recently been ordered to pay $80,000 after being exposed for racist practices against its black workers.[13]


Chicago is divided between affluent whites on the north-side and impoverished blacks on the South-side but even blacks with wealth find themselves unable to move out of the ghetto. Though it is illegal, housing discrimination continues to affect African-Americans in Chicago. All Civil-Rights legislation did was ban “No Colored” signs but racism in the housing market continues to disenfranchise blacks.  African-American borrowers were given higher-interest on subprime mortgages when compared to whites – even when they qualified for much better deals.[14] Even “blockbusting” referring to racist practices by real-estate agents, against blacks, was pioneered in Chicago![15] Today, Chicago stands as the most racially segregated city in America. [16]

Even after the Supreme Court’s Brown V.S Board of Education decision to desegregate schools, Chicago’s schools remain segregated. According, to the Progressive Labor Party “In 2000, 54% of black public school students in Chicago attended schools that did not have a single white student enrolled, 274 schools were 90% or more black, and 173 of those schools, 30% of all Chicago public schools, were 100% black.” [17]  Many whites attend schools with greater infrastructure and resources, located in suburban areas. Chicago Public Schools has nine elite selective enrollment schools that students must “test into” in order to get a quality education.  These culturally biased “selective-enrollment” tests give Chicago Public School the ability to keep schools segregated. Students unable to test into these schools are shipped into school-to-prison pipeline lacking libraries and adequate material needed to teach the classroom.   The Chicago Teachers union indicated that “Chicago Public Schools remains one of the urban school systems that[’s]“only a few percentage points from an experience of total apartheid.” [18]  These schools are fundamentally preparing black youth for a life of solitary confinement. Only 3 out of 100 Chicago Public School freshmen earn a Bachelor degree by the age of twenty-five. Education for black students is still not equal to that of whites.[19]


Discrimination continues to be perpetuated against African-Americans in the job market.  Studies have found that applicants with more “Black-Sounding” names on resumes (i.e. Jamal, Lakeshia) were less likely to be called back for an interview than applicants with more “White-Sounding” names(I.E John, Emily) even when credentials were identical. [20] Even more troubling, a study found employers to be more likely to hire a white person with a criminal record than a black person without one, even when qualifications were exactly the same.[21]

Foreigners, specifically Arab merchants, own the majority of stores in African-American communities within Chicago. These are pseudo-grocery stores that sell inflated unhealthy goods to the community and often collaborate with gangs in the illegal drug trade. The black community has a huge lack of black business ownership; so much so, when there is a store owned by blacks you often see the sign “black-owned business” in the window. The majority of the stores in the black community should be owned by blacks; the fact that we have signs saying “black-owned” business demonstrates the severity of our situation. The fact of the matter is that there are plenty of black entrepreneurs who seek to set-up business in the black community, but they face constant barriers through discriminatory loan practices by banks. Banks have consistently been found not to loan to blacks, or will charge themhigher interest rates (regardless of their credit!) than they dowhites and other minority entrepreneurs.[22]
Car loans
Auto-shop dealerships in Chicago consistently discriminate against African-Americans. A study in Chicago sent various races to car dealerships to purchase  a car. They discovered that  auto dealerships offered lower prices to white males than blacks, even in identical financial situations on interest rate loans. Black males on average were priced twice the amount of whites, and black females were ask to pay more than three times  the amount as white males.[23]These types of discriminatory practices are responsible for minorities depending upon public transportation such as the CTA(Chicago Transit Authority).  These buses are often extremely overcrowded, breeding hostilities between customers and causing unnecessary conflict from the congested environment.

The Origin of Gang Violence

Black street gangs do not come out of the sky. Their origins are undeniably rooted in state imposed substandard social conditions. Gangs result from the myriad ways in which this racist government has confined black youth in the most atrocious of social conditions. It is undeniably accredited to the denial of economic opportunities, denial of quality education, and racist violence inhumanely inflicted by covetous white vigilante groups. Discrimination against black youth runs rampant on the job market. And as  hip-hop Artist Nas once said “Anytime brothers can’t get jobs, they rob. A man would rather die than live on his knees and starve.”[24]Street gangs allow people to experience a bond that surrogates climbing up the socio-economic ladder, the same one that has systematically excluded blacks.

Unlike parasitic western capitalists that rob and kill the resources of entire countries out of pure greed, inner-city youth participate in these actions for pure survival. Gangs go to war with one another to protect their “turf”. As Freeway once said “Even though what we do is wrong… don’t you know a cops sole purpose is to lock us down and throw away the key. But without this drug shit your kids ain’t got no way to eat?”[26] The drugs that gangs sell act as a mechanism for historically impoverished and disenfranchised people to have a taste at what being wealthy feels like. Often times, the drug economy is sometimes the only way in which they can provide for their families. Indeed, between 1967 and 1982, nearly 50% of Chicago’s manufacturing jobs were eliminated.[27]   This devastated Chicago’s black community and gangs skyrocketed.  Of course, such an event is inevitable under capitalism which seeks to outsource to foreign countries for cheap labor to increase profits. John M. Hagedorn writes that “The conditions in Chicago’s poorest neighborhoods came to resemble impoverished Third World countries, and police harassment was ever-present.”[28] Also worth noting is that the Chicago government has also responded to white street gangs and black street gangs differently. Contrary to popular belief, the first gangs in Chicago were not black but white, specifically Irish. Unlike Black Street gangs that formed out of economic necessity, these gangs formed amongst white youth to terrorize black communities who dared to defy racist segregation  laws.[29]

Chicago’s government decided to take a rehabilitation approach with these white Irish gangs and transform them into “respectable” members of society. Indeed, the entire Irish gang that brutalized and decimated black communities was transformed into the Chicago Police Department. Richard D. Daley, who was a dedicated member of one of these gangs, later became Mayor. There has never been a serious attempt by the Chicago government to rehabilitate black gang members into society. Instead, the government has only responded through police occupation of black communities. [30]

Also, the black community has taken numerous steps to deal with gang-violence and all of them were foiled by the government.   Fred Hampton, the leader of the  Black Panther Party For Self Defense, attempted to form an alliance with Chicago’s black street gangs to turn them into an activist organization.[31] Instead of allowing this alliance to manifest, the FBI would instead forge letters between the two groups to breed hostility. The Chicago Police Department would eventually assassinate the Black Panthers leader Fred Hampton.[32] This alliance had the potential to unify black street gangs and end the violence that they were perpetrating against one another but the government would not allow for it to materialize. Today, gang violence continues to take the lives of black youth.


1.Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

2 “Chicago Race Riot of 1919”.Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc.. 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-04.http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/110488/Chicago-Race-Riot-of-1919

3.) Tuttle, William. Race Riot Chicago in the Red Summer of 1919 (Urbana, IL; University of Illinois Press, 1970)

4)   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

5) Housing: “A Short History,” http://southside.uchicago.edu/History/Housing.html

6) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

7 ) Arnold Richard Hirsch, “Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago 1940-1960”, University of Chicago,1998,http://books.google.com/books?id=px0PuO7GWhsC&pg=PP1&ots=9I1rYsYyNh&dq=%22Making+the+Second+Ghetto%22+hirsch&sig=IPgKY-xgpCRZwpCsboI_rk0UPgc#PPA18,M1

8)   Asraa MustufaFriday, June 17 2011 http://colorlines.com/archives/2011/06/chicago_activists_push_for_trauma_center_on_the_south_side.html Chicago Activists Push for Trauma Center on the South Side

9) “I See Everything Through This Tragedy” February 12, 2012, 11:00 am ET by Alex Kotlowitz http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/social-issues/interrupters/i-see-everything-through-this-tragedy/

10) Karen Jordan Activists rally against mental health clinic closures

Tuesday, April 17, 2012  http://abclocal.go.com/wls/story?section=news/local&id=8624017

11)  Race, Health Care and the Law Speaking Truth to Power!

Institutional Racism in US Health Care http://academic.udayton.edu/health/07humanrights/racial01c.htm

12)  Discrimination Contributes To African-American Health Disparitiea  http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/releases/55345.php 01 Nov 2006 – 3:00 PST

13)  Chicago’s Jackson Park Hospital Settles Discrimination Charges

Written by Molly Gamble | November 22, 2011http://www.beckershospitalreview.com/hospital-management-administration/chicagos-jackson-park-hospital-settles-discrimination-charges.html

14) Black Borrowers Face Higher Hurdles in Lending, Study ShowsBy Stefanos Chen  Feb 24th 2012 1:48PM


15)  A Requiem for Blockbusting: Law, Economics, and Race-Based Real Estate Speculation Dmitri Mehlhornhttp://ir.lawnet.fordham.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?articl The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve



16  Chicago Most Segregated City In America, Despite Significant Improvements In Last Decade

01/31/2012 12:49 pm http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/01/31/chicago-most-segregated-c_n_1244098.html

17  http://www.plp.org/leaflets-pamphlets/pamphlets/Racism_pamphlet2.pdf PROGRESSIVE LABOR PARTY ON RACE AND RACISM

18) The Schools Chicago’s Students Deserve


19) Consortium for School Research at the University of Chicago

20)  “Are Emily and Greg More Employable than Lakisha and Jamal? A Field Experiment on Labor Market Discrimination,” Marianne Bertrand and Sendhil Mullainathan, National Bureau of Economic Research, July 2003.

21) The Mark of a Criminal Record Devah Pager Northwestern Universityhttp://www.princeton.edu/~pager/pager_ajs.pdf

22) http://www.dartmouth.edu/~blnchflr/papers/finalrestat.pdf DISCRIMINATION IN THE SMALL  BUSINESS CREDIT MARKET

23)   Race and Gender Discrimination in Bargaining  for a New Car

By  IAN  AYRES  AND  PETER SIEGELMAN*http://islandia.law.yale.edu/ayers/Ayres%20Siegelman%20Race%20and%20Gender%20Discrimination%20In%20Bargaining%20%20for%20a%20New%20Car.pdf

24)) NAS LYRICS “Hold Down The Block” (feat. Mark B. Mayfield) http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/nas/holddowntheblock.html

26) Freeway, What We Do http://www.azlyrics.com/lyrics/freeway/whatwedo.html

27 )   RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

28) Rates of of poverty, violence, and other indicators of social exclusion resemble Third world cities like Rio de Janiero, Cape Town, and Lagos more than they resemble lower-class European urban aieasofpoverty. JohnM.Hagedorn, “Youth in Organized Armed Violence in Chicago” in Neither War Nor Peace: International

 29) RACE NOT SPACE: A REVISIONIST HISTORY OFGANGS IN CHICAGO John M. Hagedorn* gangresearch.net/Archives/hagedorn/articles/racenotspace.pdf

30) Ibid.

31) Ibid.

32) Ibid. Also see The Assassination of Fred Hampton: How the FBI and the Chicago Police Murdered a Black Panther by Jeffrey Haas.