Ultimately, the majority of Dopebusters programs were successful. When the NOI worked in conjunction with the police as they did in Baltimore, there was a significant decrease in crime. The question is, did the programs cause more suffering than relief in the black community. Were the Dopebusters drug patrols pyrrhic victories? The best way to evaluate the problem is through SWOT analysis.
The NOI Dopebusters Program was successful due to the amount of respect black people have for the Nation of Islam. In spite of all the group’s flaws, the NOI has always been outspoken advocates for the black community. They are one of the few groups that aid black entrepreneurs. Business ownership is vital for the black community. It’s is only through the support of black-owned businesses that the collective of black people will become self-sufficient.
The NOI’s community support did not only come from the fact they were NOI. The guards were homegrown and saw themselves as part of the community. Their understanding of themselves as extensions of the community manifested in their ability to employ soft skills training. In addition, guards went above and beyond in doing their jobs, according to those interviewed in the Senate investigation. As a result, residents in the housing projects felt they were being treated as people.
The support from the people led to support from various politicians that needed the black vote. Democrats such as Kurt Schmoke, Henry Cisneros, and Maxine Waters went to bat to the NOI drug patrols. According to the NOI’s Dopebusters book Republicans, Barbara Bush and Jack Kemp, also supported the securities agencies. Therefore there was never a government effort to derail the NOI Security Agencies. On the contrary, the security agencies received bi-partisan support.
Part of the reason the NOI is popular in Black America is they are unafraid to criticize the power structure. Some of their criticism crosses the line into conspiracy theory and Anti-Semitism.
The Nation of Islam’s anti-semitism came back to haunt it. For those that believe the NOI is not anti-Semitic here are some quotes from Louis Farrakhan:
“The Jews have control over those agencies of government. When you want something in this world, the Jew holds the door.”
Saviour’s Day Speech, 2/25/18
“Jews were responsible for all of this filth and degenerate behavior that Hollywood is putting out, turning men into women and women into men…. White folks are going down. And Satan is going down. And Farrakhan, by God’s grace, has pulled a cover off of that Satanic Jew, and I’m here to say your time is up, your world is through. You good Jews better separate because the satanic ones will take you to hell with them because that’s where they are headed.”
Saviour’s Day Speech, 2/25/18
“German Jews financed Hitler right here in America…International bankers financed Hitler and poor Jews died while big Jews were at the root of what you call the Holocaust…Little Jews died while big Jews made money. Little Jews [were] being turned into soap while big Jews washed themselves with it. Jews [were] playing violin, Jews [were] playing music, while other Jews [were] marching into the gas chambers…”
Mosque Maryam, Chicago, 3/19/95
The above is just a sample of things Louis Farrakhan has said. So he is, in fact anti-Semitic. In addition to the belief that Jews secretly run the American Government, he also believes the American government is fundamentally corrupt. Here is a quote on his feelings on the government.
“A decree of death has been passed on America. The judgment of God has been rendered, and she must be destroyed…”
Harlem, NY, 8/9/97, New York Amsterdam News, August 14-2
So with rhetoric like this, it will be challenging to acquire government contracts and work with government agencies. The Nation of Islam attempted to receive money from the government while speaking out against them. There is no way to play both sides of the fence.
It is evident how NOI rhetoric hurt its mission to secure various housing projects from the scourge of drugs. When Alim Muhammad accused the DC Police Department of selling drugs, he made it difficult for his unarmed guards to call the police when they encountered trouble. The inability to work with police led to a failure of the Nation of Islam to secure Clifton Towers. Guards not being able to go to the police also led to guards in Chicago allegedly murdering a gang member.
In addition to merely being slow to help, guards would not be given protection if they overstepped their bounds. The previous blog post shows many instances of police arresting NOI guards. The police and other authorities had no reason to attempt to give NOI guard lenient sentences. The NOI took a stand against the government and the government to a stand against them.
In crime-ridden areas, unarmed guards could help reduce violent police encounters that result in death. An unarmed guard could be the first line of defense before police arrive. If a similar program is attempted in the future, the guards should be part of the police force. By making them integral to the police force and removing any outside entity from the equation, there will be less interference in the security efforts. If a religious leader says something controversial, the guards will not suffer. Also, by being part of the police force, they could join the police union. Unionization often leads to better pay, benefits, and working conditions. According to the Washington Post, guards made $6/hr when police made $20 /hr. The disparity should be elevated because the guard takes as much if not more risk than the policeman.
Again the Nation of Islam’s ability to connect with the community should be understood and emulated. If members of the NOI guard are available, they should be interviewed to capture the soft skills they utilized when working with the community. If the skills and methods could be documented, future members of the police force will have an alternative to using their weapons.
If the police are supplemented with an unarmed guard, police killings could be greatly reduced. Having unarmed guards from the neighborhood as the first line of defense might lessen the need for armed police, and with it violent interactions. Many situations can be diffused when local Spiral Wizards take control of the situation.
The downfall of the NOI Securities Agencies was financial mismanagement. Even after the Senate investigation, affiliated security firms won contracts. If anything the firms had preferable treatment, as seen in Baltimore, NOI guards won the contract even though Wells Fargo underbid them. By making the unarmed guards part of the police force, the likelihood of financial mismanagement would be greatly reduced.
But the unarmed guard needs to be people from the community they serve. If respected members of the community were employed in keeping law and order, it would foster the development of a healthy blue meme in the neighborhood. The unarmed police guard will pull from all faiths and facets of the community, further promoting brotherhood.
Also, by having the guard not based around a faith, the guards will not suffer the consequences of religious leaders speaking against those they have to collaborate. An unarmed guard only works in cooperation prevents those with arms from entering the equation. Also, opposing religious organizations will not be hell-bent on ending the use of unarmed guards.
The NOI gave us a template for community policing. Even though there were instances of over-reach and financial mismanagement, the group greatly reduce drug-related crime. Much can be learned and reapplied from their efforts.
“Black Jewish Relationship: Louis Farrakhan in His Own Words” https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org