Interview with Mr. Hajj Malcom El-Shabazz, the Grandson of assassinated civil rights leader, Malcom X, New York.
"There are hundreds of Trayvon Martin-like incidences that are taking place all throughout the country, but many times the mainstream media in the US, they keep these issues localized and they don't report it to the rest of the public. So, they make it seem as if when an incident like this happens, it only happens in your own community."
According to the grandson of Malcolm X, hundreds of African Americans have been killed with impunity, but the media shelters the numbers by localizing the incidences.
Press TV has interviewed Mr. Hajj Malcom El-Shabazz, the Grandson of assassinated civil rights leader, Malcom X in New York concerning institutionalized racism in the US, particularly against African American males in the context of recent killings and incarcerations. What follows is an approximate transcription of the interview.
Press TV: Speaking since the murder of your grandfather, Malcom X, how deep-rooted is the issue of racism still in the US?
El-Shabazz: The issue of racism is very deep-rooted, something that has been ingrained within the culture of the people and within the politics of society of this nation.
Press TV: The US is now seeing an African America president; it is now seeing an African American attorney general - Why hasn't this changed the situation, rather, do you think it has had an effect on the situation for African Americans?
El-Shabazz: As far as the presidency, me personally, I don't believe in the presidency. I believe that the presidency post in the US is nothing more than a puppet post.
And when we see movements like the Occupy movement where you have the 99 percent fighting against that one percent, it's not about color; it's about that minority that keeps control of the majority.
When Bill Clinton became president many black people considered Bill Clinton to be the first black president. Why? Because he smoked a little weed (marijuana), he played the saxophone, he had that sex situation in the White House with Monica Lewinsky - many things that they feel appeal to black people. The US is the land of smoke and mirrors and they're very good at what they do.
For all these reasons people considered Bill Clinton to be the first black president, but during Bill Clinton's administration there were more black people, people of color incarcerated at an all time Guinness Book of World records height than during any other administration before him.
So it's not really a case of whether you're black or you're white, it's the case of that minority that keeps control of the majority. There is no difference between Bush Clinton, Obama… they're all the same. They had Bush out here and they gave him free reign to do whatever it is that he wanted to do.
The people were ready to rebel against Bush - The most people of color that ever registered to vote in history, to get him out. You had entertainers, you had politicians you had musicians; everyone was speaking out against Bush. Yet, he was still able to become president. It's very interesting. I don't even know anyone that voted for Bush.
But here it is, we have Obama and Obama is doing the exact same thing as Bush and every other president that came before him. There is no difference between a Democrat or a Republican and we make no distinction between one president or another. All we did was put a black face on imperialism.
People were ready to rebel because of the actions of Bush, but put that black face up there and everybody fell back and became passive. So, it's smoke and mirrors.
Press TV: You are a Muslim yourself and you speak about minorities, religious minorities especially Muslims in America are bearing the brunt of the post 9/11 policies at home at least. Muslims in particular are depicted as foreigners and home-grown terrorists and they're being spied upon solely on the basis of their religion.
How difficult is it to be a Muslim in America?
El-Shabazz: It's not difficult. I mean, we just need to stay true to what we believe in.
I remember not so long ago in Florida where they had a pastor of a church and he had a campaign to burn the Qu'ran - it was a Qu'ran burning campaign. And many people, when they began to burn the Qu'ran, Muslims were upset and they were outraged and they wanted to take action. But my thing is that if anybody has the gaul to burn a Qu'ran then we don't need to take any action against them, retribution will come from Allah, God, himself.
The thing is, when many people started to burn the Qu'ran, people from all over the country said, wow, they're burning the Qu'ran, why are they burning the Qu'ran? What’s in the Qu'ran?
So, many people who didn't know too much about the Qu'ran, when they started this Qu'ran burning bit, it compelled a lot of people to open it up and see what was within it. All praise be to God, because of this many people became Muslim.
Just like 9/11. Muslims didn't do 9/11; Muslims had nothing to do with 9/11. If you even research it you see that everything that was utilized in order for 9/11 to take place pointed right back to the US. Even the training that they received - the flight training - they received it here in the US; the visas - from the US; everything - the airplanes that they used, everything came from the US.
Muslims, we don't take action like this. Anybody who takes such an action we already know are not Muslims. Many of the people involved in 9/11 itself were actually agents for the US whether it be CIA or whatever three-letter organizations that they have that exist within this country. But many times, Allah, he says that he will use the enemies of Islam in order to promote the religion.
Many times they try to attack us; they try to use false flag operations to make it seem that we are involved in activities, which we are really not, to deceive the people to get them to turn away from us - but it actually helps us.
Press TV: We know of the brutal killing of Trayvon Martin recently in the US and that gave a lot of cause for people to take to the streets for protests because of similar instances involving teenage African Americans who were murdered by white men or security forces or police.
Do you think that this is the beginning, the start of a popular movement, a growing popular movement in the US against racism - do you see that happening in the US?
El-Shabazz: This isn't anything that's new. The Trayvon Martin case, my heart goes out to him and his family and may Allah have mercy upon his soul. This isn't anything that's new and this isn't an isolated incident.
There are hundreds of Trayvon Martin-like incidences that are taking place all throughout the country, but many times the mainstream media in the US, they keep these issues localized and they don't report it to the rest of the public. So, they make it seem as if when an incident like this happens, it only happens in your own community.
Many people in Florida or along the East Coast might be familiar with Trayvon Martin; they might not be familiar with Oscar Grant from Oakland California who was murdered on the Bart Station with his hands cuffed behind his back. He was handcuffed behind his back and they murdered him.
They might not be familiar with Kenneth Harding of Texas and the people in Texas might be familiar with Kenneth Harding, but might not be familiar with the Imam who was murdered by the Federal government in Michigan.
Those in Michigan familiar with that case might not be familiar with the (Abner) Louima and (Amadou) Diallo in New York. He had dough (money) he was coming home from a bachelor party, him and his friends they got into a car they were unarmed; the police converged on the vehicle and let off 40-something shots - one officer emptied his clip reloaded and continued to shoot, while with another brother they stuck a plunger up his rectum - the police didn't do any time, they got off.
We had another brother, he was an African immigrant here in New York and the police had stopped him, he went in his pocket to get his wallet - they shot him 27 times; when he was on the ground they continued to shoot.
So, the Trayvon Martin incident, the Oscar Grant incident these are not isolated incidences; there are hundreds of black men that are being murdered all over the USA every year… every year, with impunity… and the police officers, they serve no time they always get off.
Press TV: The US prison population stands at 2.3 million people; which is the largest worldwide; however, black males, which represent the largest percentage of that, about 40 percent of the (prison) population; they represent 12 percent of the national population. A black male is seven times more likely to be imprisoned than a white male - that's according to estimates.
Why are so many African Americans in prison and what is the underlying reason for this situation?
El-Shabazz: It's the continuation of institutionalized racism. See, what happened, they didn't have so many prisons here in the US during slavery and when they so-called abolished slavery, that's when they came up with this prison industrial complex.
The US has more people incarcerated than anywhere else in the world. It has more people incarcerated than China! And China has the most people in the world. As a matter of fact if you were to take the prison population of all the other countries of the world and you were to combine them together I don’t think it would equal the amount of people who are incarcerated here in the USA.
It is correct that the so-called African American makes up less then 12 percent of the population of the US yet no matter what state you go to, you see that the majority of the prisoners within the prison population, the majority of them are black and Hispanic.
And in these institutions people are forces to work, and for pennies on the dollar. If you look at the US Constitution it says that slavery is abolished except for those that serve within these penal institutions.
So, technically by the book, those that are prison are considered to be slaves. And that is why they can be forced to work for less than the minimal wage here in the US.
Press TV: When you say that racism against the black people, African Americans is institutionalized, what basically should be done in your view - what is the move that should be taken by the population, by African Americans, by those that are concerned about racism to stop this from happening or to force the government to act?
El-Shabazz: My grandfather once equated revolution to a forest fire and he stated that the goal of a revolution was that like the forest fire where the forest fire ravages the forest completely. So that needs to be the goal of the revolution we need to take down the system completely and we set up one of our own, which is more just.
We live in a society here in America where there is an upper, middle and a lower class. And as long as there is an upper, middle and a lower class somebody's always going to be on the top; somebody's always going to be on the bottom and somebody's always going to be in the middle.
If black people or Hispanic people or whatever group is begin discriminated against was to move from the bottom to the middle or from the middle to the top that just means that there is another group of people that have to replace that bottom.
This is something we need to take into consideration and realize. People that are going to stay on the bottom are always going to be people of color because we're the easiest to be discriminated against because of the color of our skin - we can't blend in like Jews or Italians and what have you. So, this is something that we need to look at.
Press TV: I'd like to hear from you about this - Do you think we are going to see a black uprising in America - rather, the civil rights movement joining the 99 percenters in America - What are you expecting?
El-Shabazz: I don't know what to expect. But I know there are uprisings going on all throughout the world whether it be Egypt, Tunisia, Libya, Syria...
We have these uprisings; these so-called movements here in the US. My problem, I can't identify any central leadership or governing body and I have a problem with that.
What I advise the people to do - one of the things that my grandfather stated - is that you should never join a movement unless you are completely aware of what that movement is about. Because a lot of times we have outside forces that orchestrate these movements and get us to do things that we wouldn't ordinarily do.
Just like with Occupy movement - from one day to the next, how do they know what's going on or what's the next action to be taken? They look at it in the news and it says alright tomorrow the movement is going to be over here and we're going to mobilize over there.
But where is it coming from? It's coming through the media and the media is a tool that the enemy uses to control and manipulate and mould the popular opinion of the masses. So one thing I can say is for people to be very wary of the movement they are joining and the actions that they take.