Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz

I frequently get asked how I developed my political attitude. Fair question. Let’s be honest, it’s not every day you come across a guy named Abdul-Hakim Shabazz with a conservative-libertarian political bent.

In fact, in my younger days you would have probably mistaken me for Bobby Seale or Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. provided they had a Jheri curl and wore a “Members Only” jacket. I freely admit I was a lot more liberal in my teenage years. I wasn’t quite ready to lead the Black Liberation Army, but we were moving up the ranks rather quickly.

In the late 1980s’, my dad’s government obligations had us relocated to Europe. We lived in West Germany and I attended college in Munich. Most revealing for me was a trip to Prague in what used to be Czechoslovakia. We were taking a tour of the city when I saw hundreds of people in line outside of a store. I asked the tour guide what they were in line for? I thought they were there for concert tickets, but it wasn’t, it was shoes. He told me people stand in line for hours for shoes and are lucky to find two of the same size.

That image was fresh in my mind when I came back to the United States to finish my education. I was attending Northern Illinois University. I had discovered talk radio and was listening to WVON-AM, the local urban talk station, on which I heard a steady stream of people complaining about the misery of their lives and how white folks wouldn’t give them anything. After seeing real poverty abroad, I couldn’t believe how people whined that they weren’t getting enough food stamps and government assistance. I found it annoying but that’s not what pushed me over the edge.

What sealed the deal for me was my attempt to join a “Black” campus organization. My Dad had encouraged me to join one of those groups, so I decided to follow his advice and re-establish my “roots.” Here I am in a room full of young students, who for most were the first generation of their family to go to college, so they are under tremendous pressure. Instead of messages of encouragement and support, they gave the “You know these white people don’t want you here. They just want your money and then they will kick you out. The only people that really care about you are us. Any questions?”

That is when I politely stood up and said, “You negroes cannot be serious!” And left. I could not believe the idiocy I was hearing. Instead of encouragement and support, these guys perpetuated the victim mentality. These kids needed hope and reassurance, not fear mongering.

I had already switched my major from engineering and computer science to broadcasting, so now I get the added benefit of bringing a message of self-empowerment and assurance to folks who truly needed it. The same thing was true for graduate school, law school and most of my professional commentator life. I have been preaching the message of self-reliance, individual liberty and personal responsibility.

Yes, I get a lot of grief for my opinions, but I came by them honestly and I don’t apologize for them. I truly believe the best political philosophy is one that believes the answers to society’s problems lie in the individual who doesn’t sit around waiting for others or the government to do something for them and then complaining when it doesn’t happen.

I’ve thought this way for more than 20 years and I honestly think if more people did, this world would be much better off, or at least mine would.

Abdul-Hakim Shabazz is an attorney, political commentator and publisher of IndyPolitics.org. You can email comments to him at abdul@indypolitics.org.

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