In 1959, a five-part documentary on Black Nationalism was produced by journalists Mike Wallace and Louis Lomax. It focused on the Nation of Islam and was called, “The Hate that Hate Produced.” The documentary accused the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad, the Eternal Leader of the Nation of Islam, of teaching hate. Imagine that!

Historically no one has been a better teacher of hate than White America. The Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad’s teachings were and are responsible for changing the lives of countless Black people. He taught Black people how to love themselves, do for self and become righteous Muslims.

Malcolm Little rejected life as a criminal after hearing the Most Honorable Elijah Muhammad. He became Malcolm X and responded to the false accusations against his teacher. “Who taught you to hate yourself?” he asked. “Who taught you to hate the texture of your hair? Who taught you to hate the color of your skin? To such extent you bleach it, to get like the White man.


Who taught you to hate the shape of your nose and the shape of your lips? Who taught you to hate yourself from the top of your head to the soles of your feet? Who taught you to hate your own kind? Who taught you to hate the race that you belong to so much so that you don’t want to be around each other? No … Before you come asking Mr. Muhammad does he teach hate, you should ask yourself who taught you to hate being what God made you!?”

Those words are instructive today as many are pained by the police footage of Tyre Nichols’ beating at the hands of five Black Memphis Police officers. That type of brutality is expected from and by White people. In fact, it is historical. But it is even more alarming when the culprits are Black people.

“Who taught you to hate yourself?”

Mr. Nichols was pulled over, January 7, for alleged “reckless driving.” He was beaten so badly, so ruthlessly that he died three days later in a hospital. Memphis Police Chief Cerelyn “CJ” Davis told CNN after watching the police body cam, that what happened was, “Acts that defy humanity.”

“Who taught you to hate yourself?”

The five police officers were fired and charged with murder and other crimes related to Mr. Nichols’ death. The officers claimed Mr. Nichols was stopped for reckless driving. However, according to the Memphis police chief, there’s no evidence to back it up: “We have not been able to substantiate reckless driving.”

“Who taught you to hate yourself?”

Frantz Fanon, noted physician, author, and Pan Africanist, wrote about the challenges of being Black in his book, “Black Skin, White Masks.” He explains that Black people’s feelings of self-hatred are not only rooted in the internalization of negative stereotypes about their race—but that these feelings also stem from a general lack of recognition of Black people as human. He writes: “A feeling of inferiority? No, a feeling of not existing.”

While Dr. Fanon was writing about colonized Black people, he recognized the same issues for Black Americans. He explained the negative impact of White supremacy on the formation of Black identity. The results of the Transatlantic Slave Trade left Black people born in the Americas with no connection to Africa, their ancestral homeland. Consequently, few Black people know their history, the language of their ancestors, and their ways, or even the specific regions of the continent from which they originate.

White supremacy has taught Black people to feel ashamed of who they are. Worldwide media portrayal of Black people creates hatred for self and kind. Fanon argues that White Western culture has no true understanding of the experiences of Black people, only lies. This makes it difficult for Black people to understand themselves separate from conceptions of whiteness, and therefore are tainted by self-hatred.

Achille Mbembe explores the problem in his book, “In Critique of Black Reason.” He looks at Blackness from the Atlantic slave trade to the present—to critically reevaluate history, racism, and the future of humanity. Why is there so much disdain for Black people? Why are they looked at with scorn and contempt? Mr. Mbembe describes the phenomenon as delirium. He explains that the delirium is caused by the fact that no one would want to be a Black man or be treated as one.

During the 1980s and ’90s, the Honorable Minister Louis Farrakhan crisscrossed America with the message, “Stop the Killing.” He saw where the country was headed and gave guidance to generations desperately in need. He negotiated gang truces and organized the historic 1995 Million Man March where two million men showed up. His was a voice of reason that attracted huge crowds from coast to coast. Sadly, that voice of reason must be internalized and obeyed now more than ever.

“Who taught you to hate yourself?”

Black people are sick and tired of police brutality regardless of who the perpetrator is. We have more than 400 years of trauma. However, it hurts a little more when the police are Black. We are traumatized every time we hear and see the brutality. We rarely wonder when it will stop, but rather who will be next? Mothers and fathers have “the talk” with their children about what to do when they encounter the police. What a crazy way to rear our children!

While we handle a multitude of emotions after viewing the video of Tyre Nichols’ death, think on these words from Minister Farrakhan at a New York “Stop the Killing” rally: “Nobody cares about you. You are the product of your former slave masters. You are not as bad as you are acting.”

Nothing Tyre Nichols may have allegedly done deserved the beatdown he received from Memphis police officers. We must ask ourselves when incidences of brutality from the police in our community to gun violence that is out of control to music that glories murder and mayhem: “Who taught you to hate yourselves?”

When we return to the love for self that the Honorable Elijah Muhammad taught, now taught by Minister Farrakhan, we will see change in our lives and our community.