Editor’s note: The following article is based on a message delivered by Minister Farrakhan on December 11, 2004 to the Bloods and the Crips in Newark, New Jersey. This message is not only relevant to the Bloods and Crips, but also to all of the Black and Latino street organizations throughout the cities of America
We have become tribes and clans. Crip is a tribe. Blood is a tribe. Baptist is a tribe. Methodist is a tribe. Catholic is a tribe. Sunni Muslim is a tribe. Ahmadiya Muslim is a tribe. Nation of Islam is a tribe. As long as we think like tribes, the enemy—who put Shoshani against Navajo, against Hopi, against Cree—can keep you fighting each other, until a leader comes along who makes you able to see each other as one people and not a tribe. Whoever has the wisdom to break down the barriers that separate us from each other becomes the most dangerous individual to the aim of White people, which is to dominate the people of color of our planet.
"Brothers, the best greeting that we could give is “peace.” I offer you peace and you offered me peace in return, meaning that from my lips and hands, you have nothing to fear, because peace is what I have in my heart for you, and I hope you have peace in your heart for me. So, we offer each other peace."
"Although you made a peace treaty, you need to understand the depth of what peace means. Peace means that I love for you what I love for myself. Peace means that I’ll never go behind your back and talk about you, but if there’s something in me that I want to say to you, I will talk directly to you, brother to brother, man to man, sister to sister. Backbiting breaks peace; slander breaks peace; gossip and rumors break peace.
The moment you made peace, some people were not happy.
"The people who should have been happy about your peace were very disturbed about it. Why should people in government become disturbed that you made peace in the street? The police should have been the first to say, “This is good. It makes our job easier.” Instead of certain members of the police and city administration becoming happy about your peace, they immediately tried to break the peace."
When we practice peace, there has to be certain laws that we follow in order to bring peace. I cannot steal from you, yet offer you peace. I cannot come in your house, after your sister and desecrate your family, yet offer you peace. I cannot know that you are married and want your wife, yet offer you peace. I cannot sell drugs to destroy your household, yet offer you peace. If we mean peace—because there is too much hypocrisy around the word “peace”—then what supports our peace has to be the principle, “I treat you like I want you to treat me.” This is a code of righteous conduct. Peace with a righteous code supporting it produces love.
The Crips and the Bloods, if you do not love each other, then you will not feel the pain of your Brother when he is hurt. When you hear that a Crip was shot, or a Blood was shot, why does it send shockwaves through all the Bloods of that group or set, or all the Crips of that set? You tell yourself, “We must take revenge because we feel the pain of the hurt of one of our members.” But instead of Bloods feeling the pain of only Bloods, or Crips feeling the pain of only Crips, suppose Crips feel the pain of Bloods and Bloods feel the pain of Crips. Then, you would know that we are becoming a family now—a real family.
- The Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan-
BROTHER LEVON X COMMUNITY REPORTING
Tribalism, broadly defined as strong loyalty to one's own social, ethnic, or cultural group, can indeed have both positive and negative impacts on any community, including the Black community. It's important to recognize that tribalism is not unique to any particular group and can be found in various societies and contexts. In the case of the Black community, there are certain dynamics where tribalism or internal divisions can be detrimental. However, it's essential to approach this topic with sensitivity and nuance, as generalizations can oversimplify complex issues.
Tribalism can lead to conflicts between different subgroups within the Black community. These divisions might be based on factors such as nationality, ethnicity, socioeconomic status, or cultural differences. Intra-community conflicts can weaken collective efforts to address common challenges and achieve shared goals.
Internal divisions can lead to competition for limited resources within the community. This competition might hinder cooperation and collaboration, preventing effective distribution of resources and support to those who need it most. If different factions within the Black community hold differing political views or priorities, it can result in fragmented political power. This can make it difficult to unify and advocate effectively for policies that benefit the entire community. Internal divisions can sometimes be exacerbated by stereotypes and prejudices held by one subgroup against another. These stereotypes can hinder mutual understanding and perpetuate negative perceptions.
Strong internal divisions might weaken the sense of shared identity within the Black community, making it harder to foster a sense of unity and solidarity. When energy is directed inward due to internal divisions, it can divert attention and effort away from tackling larger societal issues that affect the entire community. Internal divisions could lead to certain groups within the Black community being marginalized or left without adequate representation or support.
However, it's important to avoid oversimplification and recognize that not all divisions are necessarily harmful. Diversity within any community can bring about valuable perspectives, ideas, and experiences. Addressing issues related to tribalism requires open dialogue, understanding, and efforts to bridge gaps between different groups.
Moreover, it's crucial to recognize that the challenges faced by the Black community are often rooted in systemic racism, historical injustices, and socioeconomic disparities that are external to the community itself. While internal divisions can be a concern, focusing on addressing broader structural issues is also paramount in fostering a stronger and more equitable community.
Religion, gangs, and political affiliations have the potential to divide any community, not just the Black community. When these factors become sources of division, they can hinder progress, unity, and cooperation. The Black community, like any other community, should strive for cohesion despite potential divisions
The Black community, like any community, faces common challenges such as systemic racism, socioeconomic disparities, and inequality. Focusing on these shared challenges rather than internal divisions can help bring the community together to work toward solutions. Divisions weaken the collective strength of any community. Unity amplifies voices and creates a more influential force that can advocate for change and better representation.
People within the Black community often belong to multiple groups simultaneously (e.g., religious, ethnic, socio-economic). Recognizing and respecting these intersections can lead to a more inclusive and understanding community. Different religious, gang, and political affiliations can bring diverse perspectives that enrich the community's understanding and ability to address complex issues. While unity is important, it's also crucial to respect individuals' right to hold diverse beliefs and affiliations. Emphasizing unity doesn't mean erasing individual identities.
Coming together across religious, gang, and political lines allows for the formation of broad coalitions. These coalitions can be more effective at advocating for change and tackling systemic issues. The Black community has a history of overcoming divisions, from civil rights struggles to movements for social justice. Embracing unity builds upon this legacy.
When the community is united, it's better positioned to demand representation in various spheres of influence, including politics, economics, and culture. Overcoming divisions within the community sets a positive example for future generations and demonstrates resilience in the face of challenges. By recognizing commonalities and building bridges across different affiliations, the community can work towards a more equitable and inclusive future for all its members.
However, it's also important to acknowledge that diversity of thought and affiliation is natural within any community and shouldn't necessarily be stifled. The goal is to find common ground, shared values, and a commitment to addressing overarching challenges, even as individuals maintain their unique identities and perspectives.