Raza Islamica: Prisons, Hip Hop & Converting Converts
Texas Southern University - Thurgood Marshall School of Law
February 11, 2013
Berkeley La Raza Law Journal, Vol. 22, No. 1, 2012
The interface of prisons, hip hop music, and Islam is a complicated subject. However, when closely examined, patterns begin to emerge, and predominantly, how scores of African Americans, and growingly Latinos arrive at mainstream Islam. The journey is a familiar script: It begins with a marginal, often racialist understanding of “Islam” that transforms into a universal, colorblind conception of it, as exemplified in the lives of many high-profile Muslims, most significantly Malcolm X. This colorblind vision of the world is where the Raza Islamica is born, a world where Islam is the key ingredient of identity — nothing matters more than the shared belief in Allah and his prophet Muhammad — not even color of one’s skin. The following article theorizes this “double conversion,” whereby converts abandon the marginal for the mainstream, but they never abandon Islam.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 27
Keywords: Islam, Prisons, Hip Hop, Rap, Five Percent, Nation of Islam, Raza, ConversionAccepted Paper Series
Date posted: August 3, 2010 ; Last revised: September 7, 2013
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