November 2022 (from the “Wayera” Speech)
The world’s been watching this whole Kyrie situation. And part of the aftermath that results from something like this is not just about the person who goes through the situation, but the focus of attention also falls on the people who are critical of the people who go through situations like these. And we’ve seen this phenomenon occur repeatedly throughout the years.
I’m reminded of when Muhammad Ali joined the nation of Islam and was fighting, and people wanted to take away his championship. Nevertheless, people got in the ring with him. And as far as spectators go, there were people (even though two black men were fighting) who were pro-Muhammad Ali and there were those who were pro-whoever else he was fighting because they didn’t like Muhammad Ali.
And I love Muhammad Ali.
You know . . . some would come in the ring and start calling him Cassius Clay.
And do you know what that does to a man who changes his life and dedicates himself to God and you call him by his government name? That’s totally disrespectful.
Changing our names is nothing new to our culture. We have a lot of our Israelite family who’ve changed their names.
Now, the OTHERS are going to get upset because this is the part of our culture where we try to change our lives in a most positive way. We don’t just change our name and the way we dress. We transform the way we live. Our characters begin to change. We start to do things differently.
So, I love it when Muhammad Ali fought and he would punch a homeboy and say, “What’s my name!? What’s my name!?” as he would rip on him.
And I’m gonna be honest with you . . . I love Shaq. But brotha . . . you have to take some time before you’re so quick to badger your brother and criticize your brother. Because at the end of the day, THAT’S YOUR BROTHER!
Those OTHER folks out there aren’t related to you. That's YOUR brother!
Now, Minister Farrakhan made a statement that I felt was very vital to who and what we are. And when the minister talks I listen.
Minister Farrakhan said and I quote, “I could see my brother . . . ” (meaning Kyrie) “. . . he's not thinking about hating anybody. He's thinking about learning more about himself, because we are tired of being what others have made us. We must become ourselves again.”
So, he's saying a lot of people don't know about being a Hebrew, but they know about being a Negro.
And when you hear that message, you hear him trying to tell our people that when it
comes to your brother, you may have some issues or differences or whatever; but you don’t berate him in public because THAT’S YOUR BROTHER.
You don’t let the adversary see our levels of division. Why? Because we're still brothers and sisters.
And this is a long-time issue I have with Israel, because Israel likes to say . . . “Why are we not unified?” Well, maybe it’s because you choose to embarrass me in front of the world but still want to shake my hand at the end of the day.
That can never work.
If I'm your brother, then my dignity counts just as much as yours. My self-respect counts.
But what I can truly say is that I'm proud of black people in this hour. I'm proud of how we’re rallying around Kyrie. I'm proud of how we’re getting at the naysayers, because the problem isn’t that they disagree with us.
We disagree with each other all the time. So, the naysayers can disagree with us. They have the right to disagree, but it's HOW they disagree that creates the problem. It's how they can call a grown man an idiot and not even pick up a book to get educated about a matter before speaking about that matter.
I'm not even going to talk about Barkley.
Why do we come down on people for trying to educate themselves? There are people who want to learn, gain knowledge, and apply it. So, why be critical of that?
Learning processes are key to growth.
You know the process babies go through when they get up and start to walk. They stumble a couple of times before they get a good stride. But then. when they get that stride going, you can't tell them anything. Right? They’re determined to pick up anything they can get ahold off and get into everything they possibly can, because they’ve got that stride now.
Kyrie’s simply trying to go through the process of learning about himself. And, he made a statement that went over everybody's head. He said, “Where were you guys when I was young and I'm trying to learn about . . .”
And so, in this nation, here’s where we and Kyrie are at, when coming into knowledge of self: if we’re trying to learn (even if we make mistakes), we’ve got the right to make
mistakes because we come from an American curriculum that taught us nothing about ourselves.
We were fed with lies, but now we're trying to search out truth. And here we have the condemnation happening all around us, while we’re trying to enlighten ourselves.
And what I want to leave you with is that at the end of the day, we’re all we’ve got. We can’t look to the OTHERS to support us in our learning processes about self. We must educate and support one another.