Louis Farrakhan has never been a fan of anything coming from the United States government, and he’s been a broken record when it comes to warning Black people against taking life-saving vaccinations.
“The Earth can't take 6.5 billion people. We just can't feed that many,” the minister said, imitating government leaders. “So what are you going to do? Kill as many as you can. We have to develop a science that kills them and makes it look as though they died from some disease.”
That was in 2009, about the H1N1 swine flu vaccination he said was a scheme to kill people . In 2021, I found out that he’s singing the same tune after I got injected with the Moderna vaccine earlier this month. As many of my social media followers messaged to ask if I had any side effects (other than a sore arm, I’ve been good), Black followers affiliated with the Nation of Islam couldn’t believe that I put “that white man’s poison in my body.”
“Why would you do that my brother?! They are trying to kill us,” an older Black Muslim man messaged me on Instagram.
“What are you talking about? The Moderna vaccine is actually co-created by a Black woman, so I don’t think it’s ‘they’ this time,” I replied.
“I’m not getting it. Too much going on out there. The Minister says they are trying to control us. You may not follow his teachings, but this is serious,” he replied back.
Sigh, of course. I clicked on the link the man had attached, which sent me to a Final Call post from December about how the vaccine to help end a pandemic that’s hit Black Americans especially hard is actually intended to “cull the population of our planet by two to three billion (and) the United States population by 150 million.”
On NOI’s official website, there is an advisory section on vaccines with the headline: “WARNING: Do Not Take the Experimental COVID-19 Vaccine.”
“Don’t let them vaccinate you, with their history of treachery through vaccines, through medication,” Farrakhan is quoted in the online advisory. “Are you listening? I say to the African presidents, do not take their medications! I say to those of us in America, we need to call a meeting of our skilled virologists, epidemiologists, students of biology and chemistry, and we need to look at not only what they give us. We need to give ourselves something better.”
"We have to survive because the Death Plan is in motion,” Farrakhan described the vaccine during a Dec. 12 virtual event for the National Afrikan/Black Leadership Summit. “They give you free shots of toxic waste.”
A man who has had a notorious history of homophobia, anti-Semitism, and other forms of hate was now channeling such rage into misleading the same community he claims he cares about. As a Black queer man who’s always had to reckon with the complexity of Farrakhan—a person who has uplifted my Black identity while condemning my sexuality—his current stance on COVID-19 vaccination is an affront to all. His rhetoric is misinformed, misguided, mean-spirited, and divorces itself from the kind of accountability needed more than ever in the Black community.
According to the CDC, the death rate for Black people is nearly three times as high as it is for white people. Racial inequities connected to health care, education, and employment are part of the problem there, but so is vaccination resistance.
Early state data shows Black people getting vaccinated at remarkably lower rates than white people, despite how hard the disease has hit Black communities. That lines up with a Pew survey from December that showed less than half of Black Americans trusted these vaccines, compared to over 60 percent of white people. In other words, we are currently witnessing a preventable racial health gap take place right before our very eyes.
People like Farrakhan will remind you that these disappointing numbers are due to Black people’s historical and well-warranted distrust of the American health-care system.
But the facts are clear. More white people are getting vaccinated than Black people right now. Black people are dying from the coronavirus, not from vaccinations. If there is a “death plan” in action, it is telling Black people to keep exposing themselves to this fatal illness.
I got vaccinated because I refused to put my life in the hands of a religious millionaire who continues to peddle pseudoscience that will only contribute to the health disparities that need to be eradicated. I call on Black people who believe in science to remain vigilant and speak up over the reckless rhetoric of those spreading misinformation and fear that in turn help the virus spread in our communities.