Speaker urges blacks to learn to love themselves

There is more to being black than just the color of a person's color and hair texture, according to a leading black psychologist. Dr. Na'im Akbar, who has been called the "Malcolm X of black psychology," said what makes black people black is their African roots. However, Akbar said, too many have forgotten or been led astray, choosing to adopt a Western philosophy that profits from their insecurity. "We have made people in other countries wealthy because we want to look like them," he said during a recent presentation at the college of liberal arts. "(It is not because) We are trying to look better, instead, we do not want to look like us." Akbar said his mission as a black psychologist is to restore the health to the black community that was taken away by the "Crazy White Aliens" during the time of enslavement. "The biggest weapon against black people was being taught to hate who we are," he said, adding this sense of self-loathing has been in the black community for centuries, but often times it is swept under the rug and denied. He cited the preoccupation by some blacks with negative reactions to dark skin color and so-called 'bad hair' as good examples of the self-hatred. Akbar said that the only way for the black community to heal and improve is through self-knowledge, which he believes will lead to self-love. He suggested that each black student at Bethune-Cookman should be required to take at least five black studies courses. "You cannot be healed until you know who you are," he said. He also said blacks must stop worrying about making white people uncomfortable when they exhibit confidence. To do so, otherwise, he said, will cause blacks to be forever held captive by the insecurities instilled in them by slave masters. "We must never apologize for loving who we are," he told the student audience.