By Hakim Abdul-Ali
A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a column entitled “Never Hate Yourself” which drew a lot of very positive looks from the loyal readership of this newspaper. And while in a local supermarket recently, a lady of color, who read that column, approached me and asked me to write a little “something” else about the topic because she and some of her church members really appreciated my thoughts and views on the subject.
Well, in response to her request, my current vibes have led me to write another topical piece concerning self-hate called “Recognizing the Viruses of Self-Hatreds.” To that young “sistah,” who requested my additional thoughts and insights on this all-too-pervasive and omnipresent subject, I offer the following digestible and provocative vibes.
There’s most definitely a lot of self-hatreds existing everywhere in the world-at-large today for many undiagnosed reasons, but I believe that it’s really a catastrophic psychological disease and mentally mind blowing virus in many sectors of today’s global Afrikan and Afro-descendant communities. Unfortunately, these debilitating and dangerous diseases are ones that spreads like contagious, unknowledgeable wildfires through many unsuspecting folk of color’s mindsets, forever keeping them locked in the prisons of self-hating loathings and detestations.
In many norms this is systematically done through perpetual colonial “his-storical” miseducation and modernized forms of brainwashing about African “Our-story” and one’s skin color. Susan Taylor, former editor of Essence magazine and writer, once stated, “Self-hate is a form of mental slavery that results in poverty, ignorance and crime.”
Those words by “Sistah” Susan Taylor are so on point, and as old as I am, I’ve seen and heard just about every schism used by some clueless, denying folk of color to shun their links to “The Motherland.” It reminds of something a writer named Nettie Jones said about this malady of self-hatred when she uttered, “We must take control of ourselves and come out of our own Black racism. We must believe in ourselves, in our God, to lead us out of this forest where they are performing genocide.”
Being a spiritual believer in God Alone and a brother of color, who’s a Black man born in Harlem during the 1940’s, I’m forever humbly proud to be still alive and able to make those claims. I don’t desire to be anything else because I spiritually believe that the Creator Alone, Who Alone (naturally) created me, you and everyone and everything else in creation, never made an error or a mistake in fashioning me, you or others into the sculptured natural hued beings we are today.
I know some folk may have an issue with that, and they may even want to look like another ethnicity other than their own natural God Alone created selves. So, I must unapologetically say to them, “I don’t care whether you like it or not, knowing the truth about Who Alone created everyone is the highest pinnacle of wisdom.”
If that is understood without cynical objections, therefore, it should set you, me and any other present-day baffled and brainless soul of color desiring to be “naturally” free of trying to be someone else, only if they desire to be free, no matter where they live on planet earth. Do you get that?
Richard Wright, author of Native Son and Black Boy, voiced that “Hatred by Whites and being an organic part of the culture that hated him, the Black man in turn grew in turn to hate in himself that which others hated in him.” I say now to you to “Stop!” and think intensely what this brilliant novelist said about the ubiquitous reality in America that still causes so many ebony “brothas” and “sistahs” of color to hate their natural God Alone given Afrikan skin tones and outstanding physical features.
El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, commonly known as Malcolm X, may have hit the nail on head when he asked, “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate yourself?” Before you attempt to think about or to answer that please remember, e.g., that the very names some of folk of color have aren’t their original ancestral names, but are those of racist slave owners and bigoted slave masters, and that alone should be a factor, if you are of heritage consciousness, in recognizing and never dismissing, as mere passing miseducated indoctrinated fancy, that self-hatreds has to start somewhere.
Reflectively looking back, I believe that it’s a personal shame for me to say that, especially, after what I and so many conscious others from that era experienced during those periods of the ’60s and ’70s where “Black is Beautiful” was more than a casual euphemism among Afrikan descendants everywhere. I miss that consummate awareness period because we, as natural, recognized descendants of the Creator Alone’s original creations, were demonstrating that we, too, mattered, if not to bigoted nations and racist others, but to our own individual and collective selves.
Sadly, “Recognizing the Viruses of Self-Hatreds” is as real to me now as it was (and is) to the young “sistah,” who asked me to write further on this topical issue of grave importance to the survival of all discriminated against real natural Afrikan folk of color. Politician Ronald H. Brown magnified this issue when he said, “Unless we start to believe in ourselves, we will never convince anyone to believe in us. It is time to believe in ourselves, it is time to start believing in Africa.”
That’s a point well taken because we should never be ashamed of where we came from genetically and “our-storically” speaking. To hate who you are in your natural creation and where your ancestors came from is, in reality, to deny that the Creator Alone was somehow absent-minded in making you who you are and who your ancestors were.
In closing, I respectfully defer to the wisdom of Brotha El -Hajj Malik El-Shabazz once again in concluding my column for today. He defiantly said, “America’s greatest crime against the Black man was not slavery or lynchings, but that he was taught to wear a mask of self-hatred and self-doubt.”
I trust that you can read through the lines in what Brotha Malcolm X was really saying before you do not forget that you have naturally beautiful hair and beautiful skin tones. In case you can’t, maybe when novelist James Baldwin said, “My life, my real life, was in danger, and not from anything other people might do but from the hatred I carried in my own heart.” Hmm!
What’s in your heart? Are there viruses galore of self-hatreds lurking in the corridors of your heart, mind and soul? Think about that imposing question as it relates to you recognizing and feeling good about your natural essence, aura and being as it strategically relates to you being proud of who you naturally are and we’re created to be by the Creator Alone of everyone and everything.
I firmly believe that the old and aware folk of our conscious culture should be teaching and displaying the truth that “Black is Beautiful” still matters so that the young won’t have to look to images from movies, television, YouTube, etc. to define their worthwhile essences and qualitative values. Being hip and modern doesn’t mean looking like or resembling others and their origins, heritage or traditions and denying your own. Do you recognize that? Think! For today and always, be safe and that’s, “As I See It.”