What is up with the Black Hebrew Israelites?

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Topic: What is up with the Black Hebrew Israelites?

General Discussion December 8, 2011 at 1:13 pm

What is up with the Black Hebrew Israelites?

I see the Black Hebrew Israelites every Friday in Chinatown.  They seem to be shouting racist remarks and quote from the bible which seems contradictory to me.
Here are my questions:
1.    1)  What is their purpose for being there?
2.     2) Why does the city permit them to be loud and hateful?
Please see this great YouTube video of a bystander who just had enough of their message:

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I don’t think they need a permit to preach on the street.  It’s their first amendment right. 


Yup,free speach.


They used to be in Columbia Heights – I wonder what made them move to Chinatown. While their message is bizarre, I have to admire their stick-to-it-iveness. They are out there rain or shine, and will shout down anyone and everyone. That takes some guts.

Actually, they are not exercising free speech, they are commiting a hate crime- at least according to DC law. Free speech is not absolute, it does not protect every statement simply because it was made orally (e.g. inciting a riot, or yelling fire in a crowded theater are not protected speech). You do not have to be subjected to verbal abuse by these lunatics (excuse the editorialization but I think their outfits justify my conclusion).

What Is a Hate Crime?
A hate crime is a crime that is committed against a person because of prejudice or bias. Victims of hate crimes are singled out simply because of their perceived race, color, religion, national origin, sex, age, marital status, personal appearance, sexual orientation, family responsibility, physical handicap, matriculation, or political affiliation.
Examples of hate crimes include:

Physical attack
Destruction of property
Cross burnings
Telephone harassment
Painting swastikas and other hate symbols
Use of racial slurs
Cemetery desecration
Verbal abuse
Firebombing of residences, businesses, and churches

Hate Crimes Are Against the Law
In 1989, the District of Columbia enacted a law to address the problem of hate crimes committed in DC. The law, entitled “The Bias-Related Crime Act of 1989” (DC Code ������������ 22-4001 to 22-4004), provides for increased penalties whenever a crime is motivated by bias or hate.
The law also mandates that police in the District of Columbia collect data on bias-related acts and that the Office of the Mayor of the District of Columbia publish an annual report regarding the number and type of bias-related acts reported in the District.
Federal law (The Hate Crimes Statistics Act of 1990) also requires the Metropolitan Police Department to report data on hate crimes to federal authorities annually.

How Do I Report Hate Crimes?
If you have been the victim of a hate crime, know of, or have witnessed a hate crime, you can report this in several ways.

Call or visit your local Metropolitan Police Department������district station.������

Call the Hate Crimes Hotline at (202) 727-0500, which has been established by the Metropolitan Police Department to assist victims of hate crimes. Callers can report incidents without having to give their names, addresses, or other personal information.������


Well first off, I thought you couldn’t do that with speakers and stuff? On another note, I think we need to set up a booth right next to them and scream about how we should all just get along and work TOGETHER. That’d probably be seen as being racist by these fools, though. These people are way more racist than any white person I’ve ever met.

Like fussy children, ignore them – it’s the worst punishment.

I’m far more fascinated by the guy who leans over the wall above the escalators at 7th and H in the mornings and chants monotone professions of his faith in Jesus. At least, I think that’s what he’s saying. I can’t really tell.


There are multiple different sects of the “Black Hebrew Israelite” movement, which began in the late decades of the 19th century. Generally you can tell them appart from their choice of bedsheet vs. pleather robes and tinfoil vs rhinestone adornments. They base their theology off of a rejection of Christianity as a “white man’s religion” and Islam as “of the devil”, leaving Judaism as the default choice of a group that wishes to make converst in a community that still holds the bible to be the word of god. They draw on the traditional identification of black Americans with the plight of the Israelite slaves in Exodus, as well as a few verses about people being bound in servitude and being transported in ships. They also have a near-astrological system of associating different populations of black people in the Americas with different “lost tribes” of Israel.
Like most fledgling religions, the Black Hebrews have been characterized by schisms and in-fighting. The Chinatown preachers seem to be from the fringiest of the fringe: aside from their overt racism, they delight in practicing religious intolerance and blatant sexism. This is not true of most Black Hebrew groups; the Southern Poverty Law Center maintains a list of those they consider to be black supremacist/racist.

By DC law, people can lecture or preach in public, as long as they don’t remainin the same spot for over 30 days. I assume this is the reason the Chinatown group favors Fridays, while the Columbia Heights group is partial to Saturdays.


Are they related to the group that owns Soul Veg and Everlasting Life?

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