A major tenet of the teachings of the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad and the Nation of Islam is respect for and protection of the Black woman.
Following in the footsteps of his teacher and delving deeply into this principle, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan has made respect, appreciation and proper development of women as well as condemning the abuse of women hallmarks of his ministry. Eighteen years ago at the Million Man March, Min. Farrakhan made two powerful statements about Black women: One was actually having Black women,
the late Dr. Dorothy Height of the National Council of Negro Women, Ft. Betty Shabazz, widow of the late Minister Malcolm X, Mother Tynnetta Muhammad, wife of the Hon. Elijah Muhammad and others address the men directly. He also condemned the sexual abuse of women and the sexual abuse of girls and called on Black men to stop committing these heinous crimes.
But respect for something or someone hinges on our understanding and seeing the value of the thing or the one we are called to hold in high regard. Protecting something or someone hinges on the value attached to that thing or person and how it relates to your life. Respect and protection are also important when the item or the person is loved.
Many of us love our cars, our phones, our homes and our jobs, but do we love our women? It is a hard question and a difficult one for Black men to face, but it is worthy of consideration.
In this society, it is Black women who remain most at risk for violence, most at risk for abandonment, most at risk for poverty and most at risk for disrespect.
Whether violence is at our own hands or the verbal abuse spewed from our own mouths, we too often hurt and debase Black women ourselves.
Surely it is connected to our lack of regard for ourselves and our lack of love for self. For if we truly loved ourselves, we would love our women and express our love. Since we hate ourselves, we project that hate onto the very ones who have loved, protected and suffered the most with us.
If we loved ourselves, we would express our love not just by taking care of our children and the women in our lives, we would collectively and aggressively confront the danger in the environment that threatens Black women.
In New Mexico, a Black woman has a dispute over a speeding ticket with a state trooper and it escalates to a van with smashed windows and shots fired at a frightened mother driving away from an armed and dangerous officer.
How does this happen? It happens because Black people–male and female, young and old–remain the enemy and as White anger grows, it seeks any available target. So the Black president’s wife is a target, the Black president’s daughters are targets and a 19-year-old woman seeking help after a car accident in Detroit becomes a target.
And despite all of our bravado, prison records, weapons, thugged-out looks and behavior, we can’t protect our women. We don’t protect our women.
There is a price to pay for harming White women, or being believed to have harmed White women in America–just ask O.J. Simpson who was found not guilty of the murder of ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson. He was acquitted of murder by guilty in the public eye, disparaged, outlawed and eventually put in jail, which was what society felt should have happened for his real crime, not a run-in with people over memorabilia.
In Greek mythology, Helen of Troy is the face that launched a thousand ships as Greek kings go to war and suffer to return a woman taken from one of their kingdoms. In the Greek myth, her beauty is referred to but she also represents an ideal about womanhood that makes war necessary.
The idealization of White women, their value and their beauty still exists today. So a White woman or girl who is missing is a crisis that demands national coverage, live reports and a frenzied public response and a missing Black woman or Black girl demands nothing.
We contribute to the negative images of Black women through art and music, disrespect “b—-s,” skeezers and hoes on social media. We call playing a major TV role as a White president’s concubine progress when it truly is a scandal.
It’s all proof, we still don’t know who we are and by extension, we don’t know who our women are–nor their value. “According to the dictionary, the essence of a thing is the ‘intrinsic nature,’ or ‘indispensable quality’ of that thing; especially something abstract that determines its character. Here’s God, now, creating a human–the first human–from a single essence; and created the woman of the same.
If God created us from the same essence, then what is that essence that determines our character? The essence of you is God Himself. The essence, that which determines your character, is your connection to The Creator of the heavens and the earth, who is also your and my Creator,” said Min. Farrakhan, “ The Divine Nature & Value of Women,” a message delivered Sept. 11, 2011 at the Nation of Islam’s flagship Mosque Maryam in Chicago.
“You have never looked at yourself as ‘belonging to’ God; you only see yourself in the light of what The Enemy has made you to see yourself; as ‘ex-slaves’ or ‘Black people of no worth or value or purpose in life.’ The Enemy never taught you the true knowledge of who you are. And, I don’t blame him because he was given power to rule. But his time is up, and your time has come! And now God has come to bring you back to yourself! You must be introduced to your intrinsic nature; the essence that determines your character, which is God Himself,” said Min. Farrakhan.
This is not the day of the past when we were to be subservient, cowardly and afraid to challenge White Supremacy and the assaults by our enemy.
But to take advantage of the day, we must be taught properly and understand the need for collaborative and unified action, proactive thinking and long-term commitments. So there is a class for men taught in the Nation of Islam and professor Farrakhan and the founder of Muhammad University of Islam, the Hon. Elijah Muhammad, have dispensed lessons and knowledge far and wide. Such knowledge will help us to see who and what we are and take away our fear of the enemy as we become acquainted with the time and the power of Almighty God.
Come on Black man, stand up. Let us confront the evils in our own community and the assaults from outside of our community. Let’s make our women proud.