Monday, September 13, 2010

are blacks less islamophobic?

The Root: Is There Less Anti-Islamic Sentiment Among Blacks?
Recent data about how black and white Americans view the New York City mosque controversy suggest that this is true, but opinions vary as to why.


Dynamite Soul said...

In general, I believe Black people are less islamophobic. This doesn't mean that they won't give you a hard time as much as it means they are less likely to join in the bigotry and hate-mongering because most of them are better able to classify those "liberdy" and "freeduhm" demonstrations as nothing but ignorance.

There may be some Black people who are not fans of Islam, but many of them are related to Muslims and/or still give their children Islamic names. I think that when they hear blanket statements about Muslims, they have actual points of reference which prove the opposite, unlike the bigots acting as though they know any practising Muslims.

On the other hand, sometimes I feel that Blacks and other groups do not think of Muslims who are Black as REAL Muslims, the way they think of Middle Eastern or Asian people.

In Trinidad & Tobago, a majority Black country, Eid is a national holiday. School is out. Even non-Muslims cook on Eid and celebrate, whereas, in Shorter, Alabama, I've actually met a young Black woman who had no idea of how to even say, "Islamic" ..."Eye-som-ee?"... "Eye-som-ic?"..."Isamic.", no joke.

(As an aside: This morning, I just so happened to be listening to Tom Joyner and I heard this female comedian clowning the dude who wanted to burn Qurans, and everyone was dying laughing. I was cracking up as well, and it felt good.)

So I guess I would say that Blacks are less islamophobic in general, but there are Black people who are also clueless about Islam. I wouldn't say that Black people have the monopoly on tolerance. There are plenty of non-Black, non-Muslim people who refuse to partake in islamophobia. But due to the prevalence of Islam in the Black community, versus other communities, it is a sensible assumption.

Abdul-Halim V. said...

Salaams and thanks for stopping by. I'd basically agree with what you wrote.

I don't think I've ever seen a figure for what percentage of African-Americans are Muslim but yeah, I think it is clear that compared to white folks, more black folks would have a family member or a friend who was Muslim.

Or even if they weren't Muslim per se they would have plenty of positive associations with Muslims and Islam (Malcolm X probably being the best example, but one could also mention Muhammad
Ali, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, Farrakhan, Five Percenter Hip-hop, etc.)

At the other hand I'm sure there are Black Christians who are theologically not so far from Pastor Jones.

Actually, let me revise the above. I suspect that percentagewise, compared to white Americans, more African-Americans would say "All Muslims are going to hell" and the like in the religious sphere.

But also percentagewise, alot more African-Americans would also have strong positive feelings about Muslims, Islam, and anything with a family resemblance to Islam (like the Elijah Muhammad groups)

MuslimAct said...

I agree that it was no so long ago that famous Black Muslims were leaders of major Black movements and the civil rights movement(Elijah Mohammed, Malcolm X) and their significance is still remembered by many Black Americans today. It may also be that it was also not so long ago that Black Americans felt the heat of such prejudice and hatred themselves, and identify with those discriminated against today, which makes them less Islamophobic.

Islam itself has a long history in the Americas, and was first brought over to America by black slaves, many of whom retained their relgion in slavery. Generations after them have lost a direct religious connection with Islam, but scholars (including scholars like Mustafa Bayoumi and Michael Gomez) have demonstrated that there are still identifiable elements of that earlier African Muslim culture within African American culture today. Perhaps a sort of connection has been retained to some degree within the collective memory, and can be seen in things like naming practices?

This is an article you might be interested in reading regarding the Ground Zero Mosque controversy and African American Muslims:

"African-American Muslims: Left Out of the National Conversation on Islam"