Volume 11, Number 8 February 16 , 2008
Why a Farmer Pushes the Final Call
by Dr. Ridgely Abdul Muímin Muhammad
In my previous article called "Gathering Scattered Dust" I ended by stating that "We must either move closer together to form a community or we must completely change the mindset of the communities in which we live, if we want sustainable economic development." As an individual I can only suggest that enlightened people move closer together. So how does one "change the mindset" of a community.
The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad in his monumental book, Message to the Black Man on page 186 quoted a Mr. Henry Berry, a member of the Virginia House of Delegates in 1832 as saying: "We have as far as possible, closed every avenue by which light may enter the slavesí mind. If we could extinguish the capacity to see the light, our work would be complete; they would then be on a level with the beast of the field and we should be safe."
The enemy was bent on producing and keeping a perpetual slave by depriving him of "light", knowledge. However, within this statement of evil intent is the key to changing the mindset of these same people who they intended to render as "beasts". Teach them truth.
Today, the iron shackles have been removed but the mental and economic shackles remain, strengthened by ignorance. In slavery the slave got some bad food, old clothes and a place to stay. He did not have to get a ride to work because he lived on the plantation. Of course at the end of his life he had nothing to pass on to his children, not even a job on the plantation. Often times the slave master would sell the children off to another plantation.
In the modern form of economic slavery, Black people are paid wages, but 3/5th of his or her white counterpart. With these wages he must now pay rent or a mortgage, buy and clean his own clothes, and buy his own food. Now of course he must have a car to get to work and yet at the end of his life he has nothing to pass on to his children, not even a job at the plant. They have moved the plants overseas.
I have a Ph.D. in agricultural economics and I have yet to find any program for economic development that will uplift Black people from this state of modern economic slavery other than the program of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad. And the only way to get this light along with current events that bear witness to the need for such a program to the minds of Black people is through the distribution of the Final Call Newspaper. This paper not only presents the "news" but gives commentary and explanations of the news in light of the needs and situations that Black people find ourselves in. The back inside cover of this newspaper highlights the Honorable Elijah Muhammadís program under the titles of "What the Muslims Want" and "What the Muslims Believe".
I manage a farm, Muhammad Farms, in rural Southwest Georgia. There are not a lot of street corners on which to sell the Final Call. However, I travel to many little towns to distribute this paper because I do not know another way to put light inside my peopleís heads that will turn them in a direction wherein I as a farmer can serve them. I can not serve them if they eat at the fast food restaurants or buy prepackaged processed foods from the numerous supermarkets in the area, none owned by Blacks.
Of course we could sell all of our produce to the "system". However, our produce would be adulterated and processed to produce the poisoned foods that are causing Black people to die at an early age. So we prefer not to supply the "merchants of death", but produce wholesome food and sell it directly to our people.
The Ministry of Agriculture is attempting to set up cooperatively owned supermarkets in many of our major cities. The Farm Marketing Coordinators in these cities are faced with the same problem of supplying people accustomed to fast foods or micro waved entrees. Their potential customers are not cooking from scratch and they do not even have the time to pick up the orders of fresh food that they ordered through the burgeoning buying clubs. Within the Final Call Newspaper are weekly articles on "How to Eat to Live". This paper even has recipes to help our people re-learn how to prepare wholesome meals for themselves and their families.
The enemy to Black peopleís economic development has all means of advertisements and methods to get his message across. The TV programmers even synchronized their advertisement spots to make sure that you canít flip through the channels to get away without viewing those short stories designed to get you to buy something from their sponsors. After our people have been bombarded constantly, how will they ever get their minds straight or focused on self development? Where will they find the program and internal fortitude to break away from this sure track to economic bondage? Do you not find it strange that in this capitalist country most people do not know anything about economics?
Economics is the study of how goods and services get produced and how they are distributed. The most Black people in America know how to do is spend money on consumer goods and go into debt. Do you know that if you buy a house that retails for $100,000 with a 30 year mortgage at 6% interest that you will wind up paying $215,838? You just made somebody $115,838 dollars richer and yourself poorer by that same amount. You have just volunteered to be a slave to the lender for 30 years. And the bad thing about it is, that you think thatís okay.
You have to work so hard to get up the mortgage payment and pay the note on the car, that you donít even have the time to cook a meal or enjoy your house except on holidays and "Super Bowl Parties". (smile) We see dumb white people doing the same thing and think that it is okay to be as dumb as they, even though there are wiser alternatives to 30 year mortgages.
When I was in undergraduate school, one of my business professors would try to encourage us to be better students by telling us about how we could make $30,000 per year. This was in 1974, so $30,000 was worth a lot more than today. One day I asked this professor: "Respectfully Sir, can you teach me what that man knows that can afford to pay me $30,000 per year?" As a student in college and a student of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad, I was not interested in getting a job with white folk. I was interested in setting up economic systems for Black folk and setting up businesses to hire others.
Therefore, when I get a Final Call into the hands of a Black person I feel that something in that paper may wake them up to the reality in which they live and cause them to make a change in their behavior. Perhaps one day they may even be a potential customer for whatever businesses that we decide to set up in the future. Without this change of mindset, I simply do not see any other way to prepare a people to take on a new economic life and free themselves from modern "volunteered slavery".