White Nationalism is what put you in bondage, Pirates and vampires like Columbus, Morgan, And Dawrwin drank the blood of the sheep, trampled all over them with steel, tricks and deceit. Nothing has changed take a look in our streets, The mis-education of She And Hegro--leaves you on your knee2grow. Black lands taken from your hands, By vampires with no remorse, They took the gold, The wisdom and all of the storytellers. They took the black women, with the black man weak. Made to watch as they changed the paradigm of our village. They killed the blind, They killed the lazy, They went so far as to kill the unborn baby. Yeah white nationalism is what put you in bondage, Pirates And vampires like Columbus, Morgan, Darwin. They drank the blood of the sheep, Trampled all over them with steel laden feet, Throw in the tricks alcohol and deceit. By 7 year old Autumn Ashanti 2006
We like to continue with still healing, for we do have much
healing to do. We can't allow ourselves to come together with the disease minds
that most of us currently have. Hopefully these pages will be of help to take
you to a new self. I also hope that you purchase the books from the people that
I have presented to you. Learning should always be about bettering yourself.
These books should be in the home of every African American. We're going to
present a book page and suggest what books to read and also provide a
link to a African American Bookstore so that you can purchase these books. This
site will be a constant work in process so it will always be about how we can
better and educate ourselves and how we can organize.
This is not just about a political organization, for if we created such a organization without knowing what should be of that organization and what is expected of it's membership then it's a waste of time and would be like so many of our other useless organizations. If a organization is not about making you into a conscious and caring Man Or Woman you don't need it. The accomplishments of this organization is to make you into a asset to your race and not a liability. So let's grow together and each one teach one as we begin our journey. So let's heal and stop blaming anyone for our problems, for there has to come a time, that we stop the blaming and start doing what needs to be done for our people. Or we will always be blaming and get nothing done. So like the evangelist who baptizes you, let these words touch you and make you into what you truly are " A African."
The Social Political Context Of Education
WHAT IS THE PURPOSE OF EDUCATION? Amos Wilson:
Too many of us see education as essentially a preparation for jobs, as a preparation for moving up in social status, and as a means of securing a better lifestyle. And certainly, these are some of its major functions. However, I do not see them as the primary functions of education. I think it is vital that we understand that the major function of education is to help secure the survival of a people. When we talk about maximizing the intelligence of Black children we are speaking not just in terms of their ability to go through school and to get better reading and writing averages and go to the right colleges. We are concerned about enhancing their intelligence so that it can serve as a means for maintaining the actual physical survival of Black people. We are now at the crossroads. We are in a pathetic situation as far as the world is concerned. We are in a situation that is exceedingly dangerous, where we are questioning whether Afrikan peoples survive the next century. And consequently, its going to take a different kind of thinking style, a different system of values, and a different approach to human relations to get us out of this quandary that we are in today; the quandary the European has put us in. And its going to require a different kind of education than what is available today.
You can tell a tree by the fruit it bears. Those of us who are familiar with the Bible, of course, are familiar with that verse. We must evaluate education in terms of its fruits. We must evaluate an education that has us at the point today of not knowing when we are going to be blown up; when this world is going to be brought to an end. What kind of civilization is it that as it supposedly becomes more and more civilized becomes more and more deadly?; it becomes less and less able to control itself and it becomes more and more suicidal! It develops weapons and systems that can kill and destroy each man seven hundred times over if you can die seven hundred times over. Where one nuclear weapon contains the power of all of the bombs dropped in World War II. Just one! And yet we continue to pay taxes to support this system, we continue to admire the people that made this system, continue to want to be equal with them, and continue to want to be like them these people who are threatening to end our lives and our very survival here on earth. They are unworthy of any further leadership on this earth. They must be replaced for our survival, for the survival of our children, and for the survival of this earth!
For the Black man to be in the position he is in today, he has to be out of his mind. We have to be. For a people to vote and pay taxes for weapons that are going to destroy their very lives and the future of their people, they have to be out of their minds. For physicists to build weapons that would end their lives and the lives of their children, they have to be out of their minds. For biologists and for doctors with M.Ds to develop bacteria so that populations can be wiped out by disease, which also means that their own children and their future generations can be wiped out, they must be out of their minds. For us to sit here and be unaware of what is going on in the world means that we have to be out of touch with reality. And one of the major instruments for putting people out of their minds is education. It is often the very basis for making people ignorant. It is the intellectual and the Ph.D. that have us in the trouble were in today. Who do you think builds atomic weapons the man in the street? No! The physicist who went to school and wanted to be a Mr. Spock figure, only concerned with the facts, only concerned with mathematics, only concerned with being objective, only concerned with having an amoral education, only concerned with an education that has no central values, morality, religion.
These scientists are so denuded of morality, love for humanity, and concern for their own children and the generations of their children that they sell their services to the highest bidder and permit themselves to become the tools of politicians.
And this is true for the other professions as well. Isnt it strange that the more social workers and psychologist we produce the crazier we get? The more economists we produce the more our people starve in Afrika? You must recognize that things are backwards. But they must be backwards if a minority of people is to rule over the vast majority. The vast majority must be kept in a state of deception, and they must be even arrogant in their state of ignorance, not open to critical thinking and analysis of their situation.
It has been said that science has done great things for humankind. But when you look at it, it has done great things only for a small percentage of humankind. When you add the population of this country together with the European countries, youve got maybe 20 percent of the earths population. Whats going on with the other 80 percent? The vast majority dont have even indoor plumbing, not even good scientific farming, not any of the conveniences (but maybe a television set so they may be propagandized) that we take for granted.
Do not look at what goes on in the USA and assume that this applies to humankind in general. The greater percentage of the worlds wealth is used by a small group of people who have the feeling that they have the right to consume over 60 or 80 percent of the worlds energy and resources to maintain their lifestyle.
The Black man must bring into being a new world order. This is the contribution that you can make to America, if you are interested in making a contribution to America. You are not going to make any contribution being a black-white man. There are already enough white men for that. The Black man should bring something unique and different to the world. In a sense then, even if we are concerned with the growth and development of America, we should bring something unique and different to it because it is need of something new.
We are faced with Star Wars. We are faced with the situation that the Whites are getting ready to leave this planet and no Afrikan nation has yet moved into the position to move our seeds beyond earth. The White man will bomb this planet out of existence but if he can carry one or two of his seeds to the next planet his people will survive. But ours are left here. America has already planted her flag on the moon. Where is the Afrikan flag? Where is the haven for our people when this earth is polluted and destroyed and overrun with radiation? What happens when nuclear warfare, that is sure to come, emits harmful rays and makes mutants of our children?
So when we talk about education we are not just talking about jobs. We are talking about continuing to live and survive in the world of the future. Can we defend ourselves if the weapons of war are going to rain down from thousands of miles out in space? Can we as an Afrikan people defend your children from re-enslavement any better today than your forefathers defended themselves against enslavement? Will we see that our strength and our ability to protect ourselves against people who may be our enemy at any point in time is virtually nil? Yet we depend upon the kindness of a people who have mistreated us since the first time we have known them.
We are hanging by a thin thread. The more integrated we become, the weaker we become; the more dependent we become. One day when we think weve got it made at the mint, when we are holding hands with little Black girls and little White girls the switch will fall. And then we find out that we are left completely in the open not having prepared at all to deal with the situation. The Jews learned a serious lesson about that: we can be in the universities; we can create an Einstein; we can make great contributions to this society but that may not keep us from going to the oven.
The idea that we are going to create children who are going to make great contributions to America is not your salvation. They will have to be in a position to actually defend their lives. Education is a very serious affair for us. It goes beyond the everyday thing of equal opportunity. It is at the very heart of our survival.
We must change the order of things so that while we will not menace the world and will contribute to its peace and security we will not be the clients and the protectorates of others.
EDUCATION AND THE FUTURE OF AFRIKAN PEOPLE:
The worlds economic system is moving into a whole new phase and needs this period to restructure the industrial situation, to break the power of unions, to weaken them so that they can replace men and women with robots thus moving in computerized production facilities. More can be produced with fewer people, some industries producing twice as much with much smaller numbers. I remember reading some time ago about a Japanese factory that turned out 1,300 cars a day with a total employment roll of 67 people. We are facing a future that requires that we get serious about education. Very serious! And not equal education. Brothers and sisters, the White mans education is not up to par. If our goal is to have our children read on level with White children, and to attain achievement test scores equal to White children, we are headed for destruction because their best is not good enough.
Read the April 26th, New York Times article about, The Commission on Education. Im sure some of you are familiar with it. The tide of mediocrity, they call it, imperils the U.S. economically, culturally and spiritually. In an open letter to the American people, the eighteen- member National Education Commission on Excellence in Education, said that Americas economic, cultural and spiritual role in the world is being threatened by lax standards and misguided priorities in the schools. The Commission further intimated that, The educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity. So you can see why equality should not be your goal. It has got to be superiority. The Black child has got to do better than the White child. Not, as good as. Better! Because what they call their best is not good enough. And this is what threatens our very future. You see the article here is talking about what? Survival
not jobs! It is talking about what? Their very future as a nation and as a people.
The Commission went on to assert, If an unfriendly nation had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might well have viewed it as an act of war. Understand what is being said here.
Its hard to make our people understand that we as a people have been in a state of war with Europeans for the last two or three thousand years. We are here as a result of war. We are prisoners of war. Our fore parents were brought here as prisoners of war; and we are still subject to psychological warfare. There is still a major struggle going on between us in this world today. Get what the article says here. If another country had attempted to impose on America the mediocre educational performance that exists today, we might have viewed it as an act of war.
Then what do you think about the mediocre education that is laid upon us? Why is it that I am seen, when I say that we are in a state of war, as being a radical? Education is a form of war. We must understand that every discipline and every institution in this society is a part of its imperialism. Every one! Each is a part of the means by which the European-American intends to maintain dominance over the rest of the world. This includes the churches, the schools, the family, the welfare system, the economic system. You cant name one that isnt. They are all in tandem. Every discipline in our universities is geared towards one end that of maintaining the dominance of this country. Each is just as much a part of maintaining the dominance of this country, as are its troops and the nuclear weaponry that they have at their hands.
The Board of Education is solely not concerned with education. Education is a business. The same thing is true of Corrections. Its principal function seems to be to make criminals out of our imprisoned people. It is an industry. Its millions upon millions of dollars go to the people who sell it the food, to the people that build the prisons, go to the people that sell it electricity, etc. And the raw material of the system are our boys, and our sisters, and our brothers. It [ system] takes the politically weakest groups and processes them so that everyone else gets a piece of them. The cop gets them and he makes his living off of them; then the lawyer gets them, and gets his piece of the action; then the judge gets them; the court officers get them and they hack their piece; they work them right on through the correction system and everybody gets their piece and the parole officer gets them in the end. By that time they are no good and have got a career going, and they recycle them through it again. It is an industry It is not about correction. They dont have the philosophy nor the psychology to correct Black people: Nor is it in their interest.
White racists must criminalize and destroy Black men. The Black man must not be permitted to live fully free. Therefore, there are a series of steps that are set up to destroy him along the way. Any system that treats a 13- year-old like any regular adult criminal has admitted that it has failed. And it admits it is going to take your 13-year- old right off the street and put him in prison!
This system depends upon the Black man being down- and-out. Look at the South African situation! It is but an extreme form of what goes on right here. The immigrant South Afrikan man who must live in an all-male compound outside of the city, and who can see his family but once a year; his wife located somewhere living in a shack with their children. That is a system that in order for it to exist must disorganize the Afrikan family. It is the disorganization of the Black family that serves to maintain the South Afrikan system: it is the disorganization of the Black family that serves to maintain this American system.
I was reading a very interesting little book called Ethnic Enterprises In America, which compares the economic development of the Chinese, Japanese, and Blacks. And it deals with the issue of Why havent Blacks developed a large or a sizable business class? Why is it that with over 300 billion dollars in consumer dollars Black people who, if you looked at their income, represent the 9th or 10th richest nation on earth why is it that they havent developed a business class? Why is it that they have Asians running their business communities? Why is it that they have other ethnic groups serving their needs? Why is it that they enrich other people and then beg for jobs? Thats an issue we should concern yourselves with. Thats an issue at the center of what Black economic education should be about. Not the issue of how do you move up in IBM; a wholly different thing. How do we gain control of those billion of dollars that are available to us and use them for our own interests and for our own advancement?
But, as long as we are in the school trying to learn how to move up in IBM, the Asians are is going to move right in and suck every bit of our nickels and dimes out of our pockets and use them to advance their own interests. At the very point Blacks are getting the most degrees in business were losing business territory which tells us that there is something wrong with them. Obviously, these degrees are degrees for servants, which only prepare us to serve the interests of others and not our own. But that is true of any degree. It does not matter what it is. But it must be that way. Do you think the dominant Whites are going to prepare us to fully compete with them?
This is what our education is all about. Its about serious decisions. And this generation of children, must be the one that makes these decisions. Therefore, they must be prepared mentally and their character must be developed so that they can make these major decisions, so that they can lead our people in a way that we can survive in the future. We can seek equal gains and equal jobs and equal opportunity; we can elect all the mayors and governors we want to; and thats good. Go for them. Im not fighting that. Please do not read this as a discouragement. We should vote every one of them in when we get a chance. But lets not see that as the end-all or the be-all of where we are going, but as a major step to where we are going. Getting in and getting the money that the city represents, getting in and getting the power, getting access to the information and knowledge and transferring that information and knowledge, using it for the advancement of our people so that in the future well be in a position to protect our interests through out the world should be among our ultimate goals.
The Commission on Education went on to say:
Now, the educational foundations of our society are presently being eroded by a rising tide of mediocrity that threatens our very future. What was unimaginable a generation ago has begun to occur. Others are matching and surpassing our educational attainments. White America is being forced against the wall. We must question every assumption this society puts forward to us. We must not leave any of them unquestioned. We must think the unthinkable and imagine the unimaginable, because those things are going to be the realities of the future. I mention here a little article just given to me a moment ago. It indicates that a new science city was created to put Japan in the technological lead.
The Japanese have built a high-tech city, the only one of its kind in the world devoted exclusively to advanced-research and development, and designed to propel Japan into prominence in the 21st century
Here is a country that is essentially nothing but a rock, no resources, just sitting out there and yet it is talking about propelling itself into the 21st century. And it is moving, and it is rich, and yet we look at our Afrikan nations sitting on the wealth of the world and we have to talk about that continent in terms of starvation and poverty. There is something wrong with our economics, psychology and philosophy. Forget Keynes and Adam Smith. Dont be befuddled by names. Look for results! Look at our situation and say, Our people are starving, our people are poverty- stricken on the wealthiest land in the world. Eurocentric economics and philosophy are not working for us and it is time for us to try new ones. Were not impressed by names. Freud is all right. Hes useful, but dont be deceived by him.
Lets look at the psychology of your people. Look at whats going on and evaluate things in terms of the realities of our situation, not in terms of the fame or the prestige of an individual that is putting forth a great idea.
Tsukuba Science City has been completed after a dozen years of construction at a cost of four billion dollars spread over seven thousand acres. The man-made metropolis contains two universities, more than fifty government and private research installations populated by 6,500 experts.
This is the use of education. They are not educating their people to work for IBM, or for equal job opportunities. They are educating their people to have superiority in the world, to deal with the world. And it goes on:
According to far reaching plans in the future, Tsukuba is to be the first of nineteen similar centers to be built throughout the archipelago, each to provide the know-how for various advanced industrial sections. Robots have been developed to take the place of nurses in hospitals. ... and other installations include institutes dealing with research for agriculture, meteorology geology textiles, high-energy-disaster prevention. The National Space Development Agency, also located in Tsukuba, has begun to do work on an answer to the United StatesUnited States in the development of a 5th generation computer that will operate like a human brain.
This is serious. One of the things I have often said about us is that one of our major problems is that we have no enemies. Japan is not looking for equality; she is looking for superiority. Russia is not looking for equality; she is looking for superiority. Germany is not looking for equality; she is looking for superiority.
The beauty of the White mans system, when viewed in terms of advancing his interests, is not even in education.
It is in the system, the competitive system that hes set up where they have to compete in order to make it. In the effort of competing they produce for their society. Its the competition that keeps the system going. If we have no one to overcome, then what will motivate us to produce and move forward? Our emphasis has become one of peace living together, and living on the goodwill of another people hoping somehow we can transform them morally so they wont turn around and do us in instead of seeing our effort as one of putting ourselves, not on their charity, but of avoiding their charity.
The world is going through cycles. South Korea has grown at a tremendous rate. South Korea is growing faster than Japan. There is Taiwan, Hong Kong and other areas. This raises a major question as to whether (when this cycle peaks) we are going to be subjected to two or three thousand years of Asian domination! When European civilization declines, who is coming up next? The Asians and Arabs? Or, when this cycle ends, does this mean that it will be time for the Afrikan nations to rise, for Afrikan people to rise and be in control of their own destiny? Or, are we going to be tailing again another group of people for how many more hundreds or maybe thousands of years, as we have now permitted ourselves to be the tail on the European dog? Thats an issue that our children have got to face and deal with.
And the Asians are not going to be anymore sympathetic to us than are the Europeans, as I am sure many of us are already beginning to learn. The education of our children is too serious for us to leave it in the hands of other people. We cant just turn our children over at will and give them away. We cant unwittingly take other peoples advice about how to rear and deal with our children. They are always going to set things up in ways that work to their advantage, even when they have good intentions.
THE DEVELPOMENTAL POTENTIAL OF THE BLACK CHILD:
The Black child is born with great, great potential. We have indicated in the book, The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child, that the Black child is not a white child painted black. In the Black child Afrikan heritage means something. The Black man being the first man to walk this earth, to establish civilizations, to build institutions, governments and so forth, I think is still genetically represented in the Black child. We now quote the following from The Developmental Psychology of the Black Child:
Comparison of African and European Psychomotor Development:
1. Nine (9) hours old being drawn up in a sitting position, able to prevent its head from falling backward; it takes the European child (six) 6 weeks.
2. Two (2) days old, with head held firmly, looking in the face of the examiner; the European child eight (8) weeks.
3. Seven (7) weeks old, supporting herself in a sitting position and watching her reflection in the mirror; the European child twenty (20) weeks.
4. Five (5) months old, holding herself upright; the European child nine (9) months.
5. Five (5) months old, taking the round block out of its hole in the form board; the European child takes eleven (11) months. Five (5) months old, standing against the mirror; it takes the European child nine (9) months.
6. Seven (7) months old, walking to the Gesell Box to look inside; it takes the European child fifteen (15) months.
7. Eleven (11) months old, climbing the steps alone; the European child takes fifteen (15) months.
The differences in Afrikan and European heritages are responsible for these developmental differences. This is why we have to look at Afrika as the source of understanding the development of our children not Europe.
It is the use of Europeans as our standard of measure that has turned Black psychology into a psychology of deviancy, which makes us talk about our children in terms of deviances, deficiencies, as slow learners, and in other kinds of negative ways. We are using the wrong standard of measurement. One of the major things necessary for enhancing the intelligence of our children is to have knowledge of their development. It has been shown clearly that it is not so much the income, but a knowledge of how our children develop that is very important to their intellectual development. Our lack of knowledge about the development of our children helps to retard the intellectual potential that our children so abundantly possess. If we use European developmental scales we may be waiting too late since their children develop later than our own. We must gear the education of our children to their developmental rates. Because our children are growing at different rates and in different ways compared to whites they must have different standards for meeting their nutritional needs. All of these things point to the need for us to have a sound knowledge of the Afrikan child.
It is not what weve got, it is not the status of the parents that is important, but its what we parents do that is most important for enhancing the intelligence of our children. Much of what we need does not require money. Interest, motivation, dedication is what we need. We can make various toys out of empty boxes. We can give a child pots and pans to play with, anything to develop its discrimination and to develop its coordination, to develop the feel for objects. To develop many of its abilities we can go to the park and classify flowers, we can pick up rocks and teach categorization. We can hunt butterflies, or bees, or anything: all of which can become a basis for scientific thought development. We can look in store windows and talk about colors. We can use things all around us.
Infant Stimulation: The nature of the home environment at six months can give us some indication of how the infants mind is going to be at three and four years old. The emotional nature of the home, the emotional responses of the mother, the parental involvement of the mother with the child, the provision of appropriate play materials, are very important to the childs development. Play things are very important. Give them something to see, touch, draw, manipulate, hit, to rattle. All those things are important for growth and development.
The Japanese are surpassing the Europeans and their IQ is growing. Discover magazine, September 1982, asked the following question IQ Are The Japanese Really Smarter? White Americans are asking themselves this question. That sounds like our question, doesnt it? It is amazing to see them in this predicament. Because they told us that IQ is innate. When they tested the Japanese back in the 1940s the average scores were basically the same. But what shocks them is that in 1983, the Japanese average score is 15 points above that of the average White American. Japanese IQ has grown, and they are wondering if it is going to keep growing. When they told us that their average score was 15 points above ours they swore that intelligence is inborn and natural! What are they going to say now? That the Japanese are naturally, innately smarter? No! They are not admitting that now. When you read this article you read them saying, Lets look at the schools, lets see how they are being educated. They present all the comparisons of how much time White children stay in class as compared to the Japanese. In fact, a part of this educational report suggests that Americans must get our children to stay in school longer because the Japanese stay in school longer. So we see all those environmental arguments that we had put forward in the defense of our intelligence, that they so valiantly resisted, they themselves are using now that they are in the very same position. We must restructure the schools; we must restructure the family; we must restructure the value system; because all of a sudden they find all these things are important to the intellectual growth and advancement of their children.
Language Development: Black children are psychomotorically ahead of White children until they get to about age three. The major reason why they start falling behind at age three, and particularly five, is because their way of dealing with the world shifts. Up to about age two or three, the major way of dealing with the world is to deal with it concretely, i.e., through the ability to handle objects, to coordinate the body and psychophysical systems. But at around the age of three, the way of dealing with the world is increasingly by the word, and it is at that point that our children begin to slip because they do not use words and language as proficiently as they should. We may brag about how we are able to dance and throw basketballs, but in the end it is not the throwing of the basketballs that determines power in the world. It is the ability to use words and symbols. One of the other reasons why our children remain stuck intellectually is that we were brought to this world, the New World and the function of the Afrikans the world-over is to be servants to Europeans.
Therefore we tend to think like servants. Our ability to think abstractly is detrimental to European interests. If we want to know the characteristics that White racism wishes to impose on the Black child (and on Black people in general) there is one major question we may ask yourselves. What is it that we must not be able to do or have in our character if the White man is to stay dominant? And we will see those characteristics missing or impaired in many of us and our children. For Afrikan people must not think abstractly because we may see through his [ White oppressors] game. We must not think logically and relationally; every thing must be immediate and concrete or we may see the games that he is running on us. If the Europeans are to continue to dominate us, certain intellectual, social, emotional-behavioral and organizational abilities must be repressed in Afrikan children; the ability to read and understand language profoundly must be reduced.
The White man is so arrogant that he puts his knowledge right in front of our face most often in written form. He doesnt keep us from going to libraries, he doesnt keep us from reading, he doesnt keep us from buying books. But he has so manipulated our interest and motivation, has put us in such a state that he can place written and other forms of information right before our eyes and we will not look at and understand them. And every means by which the White man rules us is written in books every one of them. But we are not going to see them. We read about the rat in the Skinner box and dont know we are the rat in the box. We read about Pavlovs dog and we dont know that we are the dog! We read how he (the White man) controls consciousness: he has whole chapters on consciousness, how people are put under hypnosis, how to propagandize people.
All of these methods are in books. The White imperialist does not hide them from us at all. Because he knows that our mentality is twisted in such a way he has little need to do so. Because he has reduced early in our lives the ability to read between the lines. He has reduced our ability to go beyond what we see. He has reduced early in our lives our intense desire to pursue sequential-thinking and implications; to read something and to ask what does it mean for the future? Or he reduces early in our lives our ability or desire to look in the past, connect it with the present, and project it into the future. We live for the moment.
But we must connect the past and the present, we must be able to look at whats going on in the present and project probabilities as to what is going to happen in the future. Our ability to project into the future permits us to act on the present so as to influence the future; to say, Well, looking at the way things are going, the way the current interactions are taking place, I see a future that I dont want. And since I see a future that I dont want, let me change the nature of this interaction so that it can bring about a world that I do want.
One of the most important ways of breaking the reins of concrete thinking is through the expanded use of language. With expanded language we can mentally travel the world. With language we go into the fourth dimension. With language we can fly in space, we go anywhere we want to go. With symbols we create anything that we want to create. Lets turn our children on to symbols. See that they learn word-meanings. See that they know how to ask questions and deal with questions. Give them aspirations and expectations. One of the reasons our children do not grow as much as they can is because we do not expect them to grow to their fullest extent.
Our children are born with the best brains in the world and they can deal with any kind of problem that we put to them. Any kind of problem that we must solve, whether it is science, technology, mathematics or whatever they can solve! We did it in Egypt! We dont need any proof of our capability of doing it! Our people were among the first to invent mathematics, so when we practice it we are practicing our heritage. But if we believe Black people are not good in math, then, of course, we are going to produce exactly what we believe. If we expect and can believe then we can produce whatever we will but we must believe.
Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder:
THE WAR BEGINS: Dr Jeffrey Gardere
I believe most of our brothers are still insecure about themselves because of our past history, a male client named Raymond once observed. Raymond had come to me after his second marriage failed. Several months into his counseling, he was beginning to recognize how his own thought and behavior patterns had played a role in destroying his relationships, and was wondering where it all began.
Our insecurity makes it hard for us to face the truth about ourselves, Raymond concluded of black men in general. A lot of us cant deal with strongwomen. Black women speak their minds and put up with less crap than other women, whether you like it or not. If youre secure, you should be able to listen to what is being said and evaluate whether or not it applies to you. But we are still too insecure to do that.
Many authorities on African-American history and culture agree with Raymond, These scholars go even further to link many of our destructive relationship patterns to our history as slaves and colonized peoples.
IT STARTED WITH SLAVERY:
During slavery it was nearly impossible for us to form lasting and healthy relationships. The problem is that, when it comes to getting together for the long term these days, too many of us still act as if the slave master were standing over us with a whip. These carryover mental and behavioral patterns and all the other lingering after effects of slavery can be described as Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder, or our PTSD, Every crack of that whip, and the slave masters other cruel acts forced us to react, emotionally and behaviorally, in ways that would protect our sanity, our dignity, and our very lives. Sadly, those emotional and behavioral coping mechanisms have be come ingrained over time, even though many of these patterns no longer serve our best interests.
Our PTSD is so prevalent and destructive to our collective mental and physical health that it should be officially recognized as a valid psychological disturbance by the same mainstream institutions that acknowledge post-traumatic stress disorder as a condition requiring treatment. As black people, we also need to acknowledge the reality of our PTSD and do something about it ourselves.
The conventionally recognized condition known as post- traumatic stress disorder is described by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual-IVthe bible for diagnosing all mental health diseasesas an emotional condition, as well as a set of destructive, dysfunctional behaviors that evolves after exposure to a traumatic event over which one has little or no control, such as a car, plane, or train accident, a mugging or rape, or any event that is unexpected and outside the usual human experience. Symptoms include anxiety, flashback memories of the traumatic event, avoidance of similar situations, nightmares and other sleeping disorders, eating disorders, and paranoia. In many ways, these symptoms help us cope minimally with the trauma, even though these coping mechanisms eventually prove dysfunctional. But these behaviors are all we have to get us through. A person suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder usually needs professional counseling to find more constructive ways of dealing with the trauma.
Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder fulfills the definition of post- traumatic stress disorder. In fact, Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder differs from post-traumatic stress disorder only in that our PTSD refers to a single, specific traumathat of slavery. Also, that one terrible trauma persisted for centuries and was endured by an entire race! Slavery and colonialism created not just post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, but also shame, degradation, and self-hate.
Imagine the emotional upheaval of being forcibly removed from our land, communities, and families in Africa, and then virtually imprisoned in foreign countries, including America, where we endured brutal and horrific conditions for entire lifetimes. How could we ever recover simply through the passage of time i In fact, we have not recovered. We are suffering from that trauma today, and no aspect of our collective lives as African Americans expresses the devastating effects of our PTSD more dramatically than our malefemale relationships.
The damage caused by the extreme and long-lasting injury of slavery is too pervasive and profound even to measure. Our PTSD affects virtually every person of color whose history was blighted by slavery and colonialism. The danger is that if we do not acknowledge and then exorcise the trauma of our PTSD so that it no longer contaminates our hearts, minds, and souls, we are doomed to act out our buried anger and pain through repetitive negative and dysfunctional relationships, especially with each other. Without question, our Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder is at the root of the current battling between black men and women.
Heres why: We Were Bred Like Animals:
From the moment the very first slave was hauled in chains onto the auction block, black men understood that commitment to a woman could bring nothing but heartache and trouble, and black women realized that they could not count on their men. The black man simply did not have the power to protect his woman and children. During slavery, black men and women were not allowed to create lasting partnerships and families. Instead, Africans were bred like prize animals, according to the whims and labor requirements of the slave master. Those slaves who did fall in love and form family units often experienced the pain of seeing them torn apart as children, mothers, and fathers were sold off to distant plantations, with little hope of ever meeting again.
Commitment Meant Trouble:
The slave master could force himself sexually on a female slave any time he pleased. And if a black man allowed himself to experience love for a female slave, that love bound both of them to the plantation for life, defeating any motivation for escape. Remaining emotionally and physically distant and taking on many loversthat is, ensuring that love and commitment had nothing to do with itwas the black mans only possible psychological and behavioral defense against the certain prospect of emotional pain.
As for the black woman, her best shot at survival was dampening her own emotions and giving in to the whims of the slave master. The only way she could hope for a measure of control over her destiny was through strategic psychology, including turning her rape into a seduction and currying the slave masters favor for her children, herself, and her real man. What man could ever understand and accept that sacrifice? What man would not misinterpret his womans defense maneuver as collusion with the enemy? And what woman could ever truly accept that her man had allowed her to become a slave in the first place?
Thus were planted the seeds of distrust between black men and women.
We Were Less Than Human:
For hundreds of years, we were told by the dominant society that we were not fully human. At one point, we were even counted in the official census as three-fifths of a human! In fact, the only way we could gain self-esteem was through fulfilling the slave masters demandsby being good workers and good breeders who produced as many new slaves as possible. If you are told something about yourself many times over a lengthy period of time, you inevitably take in that message about who you are and what youre worth. Thats how we were brainwashed. We internalized the slave masters degrading view of us as less than human and came to view ourselves as inferior. Once wed absorbed that destructive view of ourselves as individuals and as a race, our behavior came to reflect that perception. Many of us also bought into the master as our father figure, and the notion that we, as obedient children, had to please him. This is a common psychological phenomenon known as the Stockholm syndrome, in which a kidnapped or oppressed person learns to depend on her or his captor for survival.
Our slavery-induced low self-esteem keeps us in emotional shackles because we are still repeating the same negative behaviors we evolved in order to cope with that self-image problem. Why? Because we havent fully accepted where our negative self-image and behavior patterns come from and what we are doing to keep that negativity going. As a people, we have never made a concerted effort to understand and heal slaverys destructive effects on our relationships. No wonder we cant get along!
Only when we can free ourselves of our PTSD and our negative self-images and stereotypesas well as the anger, pain, and fear these self-concepts createwill we finally be able to come together in love.
You may object that slavery days have been done and gone for nearly a century and a half. Whenever I give talks and workshops on relationships, I can count on someone to say, Isnt it time for black men and women to get over it and clean up their acts? How can what happened so long ago during slavery still affect how we relate to each other today? PTSD is just some psychobabble excuse for tired behavior with each other! True, slavery is over in America, but we have yet to get over it. The experience lives on in our bodies, hearts, minds, and souls, and the racism we experience every day helps keep the trauma alive and tear our families apart. Let me break it down even further, Here are five proofs that our PTSD is the biggest threat to our relationships today:
Unresolved emotional pain doesnt just go away:
Someone suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder because he or she has internalized a traumatic experience. This means that the experience, but the emotional pain caused by the trauma is not over. It hasnt been worked through and resolved, so the trauma remains trapped inside, where it colors that persons every emotion, belief, and behavior. The only way to become free of the trauma and post-traumatic stress disorder is, one, by acknowledging the trauma and the pain it causes; and, two, gaining a healthy understanding, either through therapy, counseling, or dialogue with an empathetic and insightful person. Now, how many black people do you know who have undergone therapy in order to heal their Post Traumatic Slavery Disorder? In fact, how many black people do you know who even recognize that concept, let alone discuss it in conversation?
Our emotional wounds are still repressed deep inside and, for the most part, unacknowledged by our conscious minds. This is why our wounds havent healed and our relationships suffer. You can never completely deny any powerful experience or deep emotion, no matter how much you act as though you just dont care by pushing that emotion out of your conscious awareness. Unacknowledged emotions always struggle to be acknowledged, and they never give up. This is why the PTSD we suppress keeps rearing its ugly head and fighting for recognition. It speaks to us through our pain and the dysfunctional ways in which we behave toward each other.
We learn from our parents:
We learn how to interact with the opposite sex as children by observing how our parents relate to each other or to other partners. Of course, our parents learned from their parents, who learned from theirs, and so it goeswhich takes us right back to slavery days, when close, committed relationships were a threat rather than a safe haven. As Ive already noted, Big Massa may be retired to the ole plantation in the sky, but the behaviors we created to defend us from his cruelties are alive and well. They live in Great Grandmas observation that all men are dawgs and Great Grandpas dismissal of sneaky bitches. Those wholesale disses of each other reflect not only what Great Grandma and Great Grandpa learned at their mamas and papas knees, but also our entire history in America. Children dont know any better. They simply absorb the viewpoints of their elders. As they grow, they act from those viewpoints and observed adult behaviors, then pass all of that on to their own youth. Through the generations, weve been raising our children to battle each other, because weve never stopped defending ourselves against Big Massa.
Weve been genetically programmed to battle!:
My experience as a psychologist leads me to believe that many of the dysfunctional ways of relating we developed during slavery actually became genetic. Through enough repetition, behaviors can become hard-wired into our brains, forming actual neural path waysin much the same way that a computer is programmed to spit out the same information over and over. These programmed responses are then passed on to future generations. Over the centuries, the unhealthy behaviors created by the conditions of slavery have given us an actual genetic disposition toward dysfunctional relationships.
Slavery may be over, but racism lives on:
Some racist words and deeds are as bold as day. More often, though, its the little things that count. No matter how thick your skin, its nearly impossible to ignore the subtle insults we receive on a daily basis from the white majority. That everyday brand of racism simply reinforces the emotional distress and destructive behaviors associated with Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder. Our present is conspiring with our past to keep us stuck in an unhealthy emotional state in which we release our pain on the most convenient targets each other.
Romance without finance has no chance!:
Educational and economic inequities are all-too-real fallout from Post-Traumatic Slavery Disorder and the pressures of past and present-day racism. Economic issues are the number one reason why couples of any race cant get it together. If theres no money, love fights extra hard to survive. Day-to-day grinding poverty wears away at the strongest love. With black people still poised on the lowest rung of Americas economic ladder, our view of each other as failuresand therefore as less attractive relationship prospects than partners of other races!is reinforced.
The deteriorating quality of black men and womens relationships clearly results from the ways in which we learned to cope with slavery. Yet our PTSD doesnt take us off the hook. Ultimately, we bear the responsibility for reinforcing our PTSD by staying stuck in dysfunctional ways of thinking and behaving.
Lets take a closer look at the more common PTSD-associated syndromes and behaviors we need to lose, because they are destroying our chances for more loving relationships.
Acting Out Sexually:
Slavery was not only an emotional and physical crime against black people and humanity overall; it was also a brutal sex crime. It was rapephysically, psychologically, and spiritually. Our men and women were sexually exploited in every way possible, from the literal rape of our women to enforced breeding with partners of the masters choice, Our sexual/physical abuse has affected us in ways similar to other victims of sexual abuse who take in the message of the rape and come to use their sexuality to define themselves. Those of us who have bought into societys view that all black people have to offer is sexual and physical power, base their behavior on a warped sense of sexuality. That dysfunctional sexuality has become the way some of us define our self-worth and our relationships. We use sex as a weapon. We use sex to help us feel better about ourselves. We even use sex to keep us from becoming truly intimate. I often hear black men reduce black women to whats between their legs, while black women reduce black men to what they can do for them in bed.
If you cant commit on a healthy emotional level, what else is left but to act out what you know bestsex? For some, sex is the only way they relate to a partner, but if knocking boots is the sole basis of a relationship, sex is just a release valve. Sex is no longer a way to create and strengthen an intimate connection. If a man has more than one release valve, you can be sure hes also using these sexual conquests to boost his ego. After all, what did the black man have back in slavery days? He didnt have the right to protect his woman and children, to earn a living, own property, even to read or write. And if he did sex well, why not turn that negative into a positive? Why not take pride in his prowess?
The same could be said of the female slave. If she was used and abused by the master, why not cultivate the skill of sexual manipulation in order to conquer the slave master and protect herself and her family? Back then, sexual prowess and manipulation were means of survival, but many of us still believe that they are our only talents. That warped point of view lies at the core of a destructive repertoire of limited sex-based relationship behaviors that are unhealthy for us as individuals and as a race. Lets take a look at how this plays out:
Buck and the Breeder:
We all know a Buck when we meet one, and by now we understand where Bucks penis-waving comes from: our PTSD. The white man may hold the political and money power, but I got the penis power, Buck is saying. Im not about to tell you that sexual prowess is bad. Black men probably deserve their reputation as studly lovers. The problem comes in when you believe thats the only power you have. Sexual skill is wonderful, but basing relationships on between-the-sheets talent is limiting. Physical intimacy alone cannot build a healthy, close relationship that will nurture you and your partner in an emotionally gratifying way.
Of course, all the Bucks out there reason that they have to share their gifts with many women because there arent enough strong black men to go around. These brothers claim that it would be selfish if they didnt share this much man with more than one woman. Raoul was a typical example of a Buck who was forcing his wife, Cynthia, to be a breeder. Raoul was never home. Cynthia had even found a few mysterious phone calls on his cell phone bill, and other tell tale signs of her husbands cheating. Of course, Raoul stoutly denied infidelity and countered Cynthias accusations with intimidating temper tantrums. Cynthia finally took a stand and threatened to leave if he didnt come with her to counseling. After a few therapy sessions, we still werent getting anywhere, so I suggested that each of them also meet with me individually. Raoul was much more forthcoming when we were alone.
In fact, he figured that as a brother Id understand where he was coming from. Listen man, Ive been with my wife for eight years, and you know a mans got to do what a mans got to do, he told me. I cant be with the same woman all that time. Not with all these honeys out there just begging for it. I have to spread it around. What has Cynthia got to complain about? I pay the bills. I take care of her and the kids, and I give her the good wood a couple of times a week. Whats her problem? Lots of sisters would love to be in her shoes. Why cant I have fun on my private time? I need you to tell me how to handle Cynthia.
Unfortunately, this Buck spoke for too many black men. Cynthia was not his lover or his partner. She was the means to his ends: having children and a well-run household. Cynthias feelings and the quality of their relationship were not factors to be considered. Distracted by the ego boosts he got from his many affairs, Raoul was completely unaware that his behavior was slowly but surely eroding his emotional connection with his wife. Cynthia was just another female to be squeezed into his busy schedule.
Once wed addressed some of the issues in their dysfunctional marriage, Cynthia refused to accept her limited role in their relationship. Yet many black women willingly take on the role of servant/breeder/mammy. Like Buck, these women view themselves in a one-dimensional mirror. Of course, the Breeder is also a legacy of slavery, when female slaves were a means of increasing the masters property, The Buck is brainwashed by PTSD to think that all hes got going for himself is his penis, while the Breeder believes that all she has to offer is a womb in which to make a baby that will tie a man to her for life. Unfortunately, after many Bucks make deposits in a sperm bank, they feel their job is done and withdraw further support. In fact, they usually brag about how wide and far theyve scattered their seed, without ever taking into account their complete failure to be real men and raise and support those children.
Im also dismayed by the increasing numbers of young black girls I see at my clinic whose PTSD expresses itself in their assumption that having a child at age fifteen or sixteen is a common rite of passage. Who are these girls role models? Often the role models are their own mothers and grandmothers. Even when these adult women warn their daughters and granddaughters over and over about the difficulties of single parenthood at an early age, the older womens example suggests to their girls that theyll be able to manage, too.
Many young women have no clue why theyre having babies in the first place. They offer vague reasons, the most common being, I want someone to love and love meclear evidence that self- esteem issues are the core reason for babies to have babies. If these young mothers believed in themselves and their futures, they would not tie themselves down so early in life with the responsibilities of a child. Their inability to believe in themselves as potential movers and shakers who could make a mark in the world, or even as wives in loving and equal partnerships, also colors how men view them. Prospective mates take one look at the baby on the hip and the toddler tugging at the skirt, and dismiss these young women as Breeders.
Other women, especially younger women, believe the best they can dogiven black mens shoddy behavior and the unfavorable black-man-to-black-woman population ratiois to flip the script and work their own equivalent of penis power. I call it punany power, to borrow a Caribbean term for female genitalia. In fact, many of these women will do just about anything to prove their P-power is better than the competitions. Its all about the Benjamins anyway, because these girls have given up on true love and turned into sexual mercenaries. Of course, punany power is also linked to slavery days, when black females were viewed as sex objects for the masters pleasure,
The prettiest slaves may have attracted more unwanted play, but in some instances they also won privileges. They may have been sexual victims and hostages, but they could also use sex to gain some semblance of control over the master and even their own destinies. Throughout time, all women regardless of race and ethnicityhave been raped and exploited by men, but women of color have suffered the hardest lessons of sexual survival. Black men learned to use their strength and their penises, while black women learned to use their feminine wiles and sexuality.
Punany power is on display today in the R&B, hip-hop, and reggae videos all over TV. Its for sale at the local club. Again, the emphasis on sex as the sole connection between men and women is a lingering after effect of an outmoded survival strategy, but it cannot lead to strong, close bonds between our men and women. And when hotties age, what happens to self-esteem without the slamming body to maintain morale? Throughout their youth, these women attracted men who wanted them for their physical attributes only, which means theyve endured one failed relationship after another. Those types of men always move on to hunt down other conquests. Very attractive women who rely on punany power often find themselves older and alone and wondering why.
When you relate to others on the basis of sex, you naturally suppress softer, more vulnerable emotions. While both genders are capable of protecting their more tender emotions, masking feelings tends to be more a male problem. Men in general are socialized to suppress their sensitivity so everyone will perceive them as manly.
Black men, in particular, fear being regarded as soft, that is, emotionally weak and like a female. During slavery, many black men swallowed their pain and humiliation by acting stony and tough. We see that lingering PTSD coping tactic in brothers who present to the world an unfeeling, macho mask that hides and protects their fear and hurt, even their tender love. The only powerful emotions many black men are willing to show the world are so-called strong ones: anger and rage. These men are really hurting and understand ably so, but they fear that if they were to risk revealing their vulnerability, at best they would be laughed at and scorned. At worst, theyd be destroyed.
Of course, men who cannot expose their vulnerability are so emotionally bottled up, they have difficulty saying, I love you or even being physically tender, not only with their partners, but also with their children.
Part of the problem is that black men are still objects of contempt. They remain an endangered species in this society and are the least empowered men of any race. In fact, black men believe their status in America at large doesnt even measure up to the black womans. In fact, studies prove this perception isnt true. What is true, though, is that black men believe black women are allowed to exercise more power in mainstream society.
Again, masking feelings was a necessary, often effective survival strategy back on the plantation. Rambros adopted a stoic, macho facade, but many other black men hid their true feelings under an attitude of complete submission, These men presented to the world a mild, subservient, and nonthreatening facethe Sambo, Under neath the mask of compliance, these Sambos seethed with rage over having to play their pathetic, shuffling role, Playing Sambo is now recognized as a coping mechanism that sometimes included sly, coded gestures that signaled to other slaves how slick Sambo was really getting over. Yet even when Sambo got over, he paid a stiff price for his defense. Sambo paved over the same pain suffered by Rambro.
Sambos were equally poor candidates for nurturing relationships, They may have acted like the most jovial, yes-sir/no-sir fellas for the outside world, but once they shut their front door and were safe at home, these nice guys often turned into raging bullies who released the pain and pressure-cooker rage by lashing out at their close ones, Few full-out Sambos exist today, but many black men still shift between two personalities: one tailored for the white world, the other for us. These men also suffer because they lose contact with their true selves, Unable to inhabit their natural identity all the time, they cannot establish a genuine relationship with someone else.
Sisters Doing It for Themselves . . and Everyone Else:
During slavery, the black woman often had to take care of everything on her own because her man was not allowed to assert husbandly or fatherly responsibilities. Many black women today still believe they have to take care of everything, and these overburdened women often dismiss all black men as useless, incompetent fools. I can do better on my own, they tell themselvesand each other, especially during those group grouses about useless brothers. Its hard to blame overcompensating sisters for their bitterness, especially when they have bred for more than one man whos let them down, were raised in a fatherless home, or witnessed their mothers or close relatives and friends repeatedly abused or abandoned by lovers or the fathers of their children. In fact, some over- compensating women insist they want nothing at all to do with a black man or even a family.
Other black women do marry and stay with a black man, but they never dream of demanding a fifty-fifty partnership. They stay with their men but they give up on a genuine relationship. These sisters simply decide from the get-go that they have to take care of everything, and they often wind up emasculating their husbands in the process.
Not surprisingly, many of these sisters walk around with a giant chip on their shoulders. Who wouldnt be angry if theyd convinced themselves that they have to take care of everything because no one will help? Again, these women are often justified to some extent, but theyre also throwing out the baby with the bath water. Not all black men are worthless, shiftless, and irresponsible; and many of these women dont even realize that they can expect, ask for, and receive help from a man and enjoy fifty-fifty love. Giving up on black men, whether refusing to deal with them al together or not expecting them to live up to their obligations, only leads to personal pain and our disaster as a race.
The Complexion Complex:
For many of us, the standards of attractiveness set by the slave master still rule. Within the plantocracy, light-skinned slaves enjoyed more status because of their obvious associations with the slave master. A light complexion and good hair meant that you were the son or daughter of the master or, at the very least, of an overseer. It sometimes even provided entry to the Big House, where work was slightly less grueling than in the fields, and certainly of a higher rank. That complexion complex may be one of the most stubborn carryovers from slavery days, and our PTSD has caused us to spin off many variations on its theme of self-rejection.
Darker-skinned slaves very quickly learned that they were inferior to their mixed-race peers. Dark-skinned men and women were viewed as primitive, driven by animal sexuality, This point of view was so aggressively forced on us that we finally internalized the slavers contempt for African beauty. We began to view good hair, fine features, and light skin as superior and beautiful. The same prejudices attached themselves to the width of our noses, the size of our behinds, and the fullness of our lips. African features became a source of shame and ugliness. This introduced a divisive element into the slave population, where dark- and light-skinned slaves viewed each other with suspicion. Dark-skinned slaves were envious of the light-skinned slaves position and favor, and light-skinned slaves bought into the masters contempt for the purely African. Even siblings within the same slave family were affected if some children were fathered by a slave while others were fathered by the master.
Those distorted perceptions endure today. The many stereotypes that arise from our issues around complexion shade and other features are land mines in our war between the sexes. Light-skinned folk may look down on dark-complexioned people, but that script is flipped by darker-complexioned people who sneer at light-skinned black people, calling them white, stuck up, and not really black. As a result, we not only suffer from the stereotypes and racism inflicted on us by others, but we also mirror those distorted views in the ways in which we treat each other. As ludicrous as those prejudices are, they linger on in our minds
as part of our PTSD that is destroying our relationships.
Dating Exclusively Outside Our Race
It has always amazed me that black men are the only race to talk about how they hate their own women and dont want to date us, Amanda complained during a womens group session. Have they forgotten that they all came from a black womans womb? Do you ever hear white men spitting out such venom to ward white women? Who taught us how to love and get along with each other? Our parents. Who did our parents learn from? Their parents. And we can track it back to being transported to this country and sold as slaves for the white mans pleasure.
Of course, we all know love has no color, but when black people men or womenrefuse to date anyone of their own race, that is a flagrant sign of PTSD-induced self-esteem issues, Such a person is also giving up on our future as a race in this country. Black men and women who claim that partners of the other race treat me better are usually escapists who dont want to take a long, hard look at their own motives. Refusing to consider a brother or sister reflects a self-hate thats expanded into hate of your own kind. Of course, it all goes back to the slave masters contempt that we absorbed and made our own.
Those of us who reject our own race from our personal dating pools may also believe on some level that partners of a different race are potential saviors. White women will give us more class. Asian women will obey us. White men will treat us better and give us access to a better life. For some men, dating white women is a way to get back at the master or gain greater status.
Victimizing the Victim
Americans were shocked by recent news accounts of Bosnian wives, sisters, and daughters who were killed by male relatives because these women had been raped by Serb fighters. These murderous husbands, brothers, and fathers couldnt handle the dishonor to their families. This is an extreme instance of a common human phenomenon: blaming the victim for his or her own suffering. Many black men are unaware that they blame black women, on some level, for being raped by the master. Of course, the blame comes down even harder on those women who willingly entered into liaisons with white men in order to survive. Black men may be aware that their women had little choice, but deep down inside, a little voice keeps whispering, It was her fault. Many brothers are still simmering with rage over the rape of their black women by the white slave masters, and, whether they know it or not, these brothers have fallen into the trap of victimizing the victim.
The wide spread attitude of distrust many brothers hold toward todays sisters is, at least in part, a carry over from the male slaves suspicion that his woman colluded in her own rape, even if she may have done so in order to protect herself, her man, and their children, Its not surprising that most contemporary black mens blood pressure soars when ever they spot a sister accompanied by a white man: visions of that primal rape scene dance in their heads. And when the anger rises up, it has to go somewhere. More often than not, the anger spills out onto that black woman and her white man, then onto all other black women as well. After all, they, too, could be getting it on with the white man! On the other hand, some black women unconsciously blame their men for not preventing slavery. Ironically, these women can so resent the black mans powerlessness, that white men become the saviors who can change black womens destinies.
We have to keep in mind that many of these dysfunctional beliefs are unconscious and that the behaviors created by these belief systems were originally coping mechanisms that ensured our survival during slavery. But coping came at a tremendous cost in terms of our psychological well-being, and were still paying. In later chapters, we will deal with the effects of our PTSD on our relationships, and how we can heal. Well explore where we typically go wrong and why. You will understand why those of us who believe we are players are actually fumblers. You will learn all the ways we keep the war going and how to stop the madness by developing healthier ways of thinking and behaving. But before we can begin to resolve all the issues caused by our PTSD and create deeper, more supportive love connections, we first need to explore the role of our complacency and denial in keeping our PTSD behaviors alive and sabotaging our relationships.
Behind The Masks: E. Franklin Frazier:
SINCE THE BLACK BOURGEOISIE live largely in a world of make believe, the masks which they wear to play their sorry roles conceal the feelings of inferiority and of insecurity and the front that haunt their inner lives. Despite their attempt to escape from real identification with the masses of Negroes, they can not escape the mark of oppression any more than their less favored kinsmen. In attempting to escape identification with the black masses, they have developed a self-hatred that reveals itself in their deprecation of the physical and social characteristics of Negroes. Likewise, their feelings of inferiority and insecurity are revealed in their pathological struggle for status within the isolated Negro world and craving for recognition in the white world. Their escape into a world of make-believe with its sham society leaves them with a feeling of emptiness and futility which causes them to constantly seek an escape in new delusions.
1. The Mark of Oppression
There is an attempt on the part of the parents in middle class families to shield their children against racial discrimination and the contempt of whites for colored people. Sometimes the parents go to fantastic extremes, such as prohibiting the use of the words Negro or colored in the presence of their children. They sometimes try to prevent their children from knowing that they can not enter restaurants or other public places because they are Negroes, or even that the schools they attend are segregated schools for Negroes. Despite such efforts to insulate their children against a hostile white world, the children of the black bourgeoisie can not escape the mark of oppression. This is strikingly revealed in the statement of a seventeen-year-old middle-class Negro youth. When asked if he felt inferior in the presence of white people, bourgeoisie: he gave the following answerwhich was somewhat unusual for its frankness but typical of the attitude of the black bourgeoisie.
Off-hand, Id say no, but actually knowing all these things that are thrown up to you about white people being superiorthat they look more or less down upon all Negroesthat we have to look to them for everything we getthat theyd rather think of us as mice than menI dont believe I or any other Negro can help but feel inferior. My father says that it isnt sothat we only feel inferior to those whom we feel are superior. But I dont believe we can feel otherwise. Around white people until I know them a while I feel definitely out of place. Once I played a ping-pong match with a white boy whose play I know wasnt as good as mine, and boys he managed to beat I beat with ease, but I just couldnt get it out of my mind that I was playing a white boy. Sort of an Indian sign on me, you know.
The statement of this youth reveals how deep-seated is the feeling of inferiority, from which even the most favored elements among Negroes can not escape.. However much some middle-class Negroes may seek to soothe their feeling of inferiority in an attitude which they often express in the adage, it is better to reign in hell than serve in heaven, they are still conscious of their inferior status in American society. They may say, as did a bewildered middle-class youth, that they are proud of being a Negro or proud of being a member of the upper stratum in the Negro community and feel sorry for the Negro masses stuck in the mud, but they often confess, as did this youth:
However, knowing that there are difficulties that confront us all as Negroes, if I could be born again and had my choice Id really want to be a white boyI mean white or my same color, providing I could occupy the same racial and economic level I now enjoy. I am glad I am this colorIm frequently taken for a foreigner. I wouldnt care to be lighter or darker and be a Negro. I am the darkest one in the family due to my constant outdoor activities. I realize of course that there are places where I cant go despite my family or money just because I happen to be a Negro. With my present education, family background, and so forth, if I was only white I could go places in life. A white face holds supreme over a black one despite its economic and social status. Frankly, it leaves me bewildered.
Not all middle-class Negroes consciously desire, as this youth, to be white in order to escape from their feelings of inferiority. In fact, the majority of middle-class Negroes would deny having the desire to be white, since this would be an admission of their feeling of inferiority. Within an intimate circle of friends some middle-class Negroes may admit that they desire to be white, but publicly they would deny any such wish. The black bourgeoisie constantly boast of their pride in their identification as Negroes. But when one studies the attitude of this class in regard to the physical traits or the social characteristics of Negroes, it becomes clear that the black bourgeoisie do not really wish to be identified with Negroes.
2. Insecurities and Frustrations:
Since the black bourgeoisie can not escape identification with Negroes, they experience certain feelings of insecurity because of their feeling of inferiority. Their feeling of inferiority is revealed in their fear of competition with whites. There is first a fear of competition with whites for jobs. Not withstanding the fact that middle-class Negroes are the most vociferous in demanding the right to compete on equal terms with whites, many of them still fear such competition. They prefer the security afforded by their monopoly of certain occupations within the segregated Negro community. For example, middle-class Negroes demand that the two Negro medical schools be reserved for Negro students and that a quota be set for white students, though Negro students are admitted to white medical schools. Since the Supreme Court of the United States has ruled against segregated public schools, many Negro teachers, even those who are well-prepared, fear that they can not compete with whites for teaching positions. Although this fear stems principally from a feeling of inferiority which is experienced generally by Negroes, it has other causes.
The majority of the black bourgeoisie fear competition with whites partly because such competition would mean that whites were taking them seriously, and consequently they would have to assume a more serious and responsible attitude towards their work. Middle-class Negroes, who are notorious for their inefficiency in the management of various Negro institutions, excuse their inefficiency on the grounds that Negroes are a young race and, therefore, will require time to attain the efficiency of the white man. The writer has like. a Negro college president who has constantly demanded that Negroes have equality in American life, declare before white people in extenuation of the shortcomings of his own administration, that Negroes were a child race and that they had to crawl before they could walk. Such declarations, while flattering to the whites, are revealing in that they manifest the black bourgeoisies contempt for the Negro masses, while excusing its own deficiencies by attributing them to the latter. Yet it is clear that the black workers who must gain a living in a white mans mill or factory and in competition with white workers can not offer any such excuse for his inefficiency.
The fear of competition with whites is probably responsible for the black bourgeoisies fear of competence and first-rate performance within its own ranks. When a Negro is competent and insists upon first-rate work it appears to this class that he is trying to be a white man, or that he is insisting that Negroes measure up to white standards. This is especially true where the approval of whites is taken as a mark of competence and first-rate performance. In such cases the black bourgeoisie reveal their ambivalent attitudes toward the white. They slavishly accept the estimate which almost any man places upon a Negro or his work, but at the same time they fear and reject white standards. For example, when-a group of Negro doctors were being shown the modern equipment and techniques of a white clinic, one of them remarked to a Negro professor in a medical school, This is the white mans medicine. I never bother with it and still I making $30,000 a year. Negroes who adopt the standards of the white world create among the black bourgeoisie a feeling insecurity and often become the object of both the envy and hatred of this class.
Among the women of the black bourgeoisie there is at intense fear of the competition of white women for Negro men. They often attempt to rationalize their fear by saying that the Negro man always occupies an inferior position in relation to the white woman or that he marries much below his social status. They come nearer to the source of their fear when they confess that there are not many eligible Negro men and that these few should marry Negro women. That such rationalizations conceal deep-seated feelings of insecurity is revealed by the fact that generally they have no objection to the marriage of white men to Negro women, especially if the white man is reputed. to be wealthy. In fact, they take pride in the fact and attribute these marriages to the peculiar charms of Negro women.
In fact, the middle-class Negro womans fear of the competition of white women is based often upon the fact that she senses her own inadequacies and shortcomings. Her position in Negro society and in the larger Negro community is often due to some adventitious factor, such as a light complexion or a meager education, which has pushed her to the top of the social pyramid. The middle-class white woman not only has a white skin and straight hair, but she is generally more sophisticated and interesting because she has read more widely and has a larger view of the world. The middle-class Negro woman may make fun of the plainness of her white competitor and the latters lack of wealth and interest in society; nevertheless she still feels insecure when white women appear as even potential competitors.
Both men and women among the black bourgeoisie have a feeling of insecurity because of their constant fear of the loss of status. Since they have no status in the larger American society, the intense struggle for status among middle-class Negroes is, as we have seen, an attempt to compensate for the contempt and low esteem of the whites. Great value is therefore, placed upon all kinds of status symbols. Academic degrees, both real and honorary, are sought in order to secure status. Usually the symbols are of a material nature implying wealth and conspicuous consumption. Sometimes Negro doctors do not attend what are supposedly scientific meetings because they do not have a Cadillac or some other expensive automobile. School teachers wear mink coats and maintain homes beyond their income for fear that they may lose status.
The extravagance in social life generally is due to an effort not to lose status. But in attempting to overcome their fear of loss of status they are often beset by new feelings of insecurity. In spite of their pretended wealth, they are aware that their incomes are insignificant and that they must struggle to maintain their mortgaged homes and the show of wealth in lavish social affairs. Moreover, they are beset by a feeling of insecurity because of their struggles to maintain a show of wealth through illegal means. From time to time wealthy Negro doctors are arrested for selling narcotics and performing abortions. The life of many a wealthy Negro doctor is shortened by the struggle to provide diamonds, minks, and an expensive home for his wife.
There is much frustration among the black bourgeoisie despite their privileged position within the segregated Negro world. Their wealth and social position can not erase the fact that they are generally segregated and rejected by the white world. Their incomes and occupations may enable them to escape the cruder manifestations of racial prejudice, but they can not insulate themselves against the more subtle forms of racial discrimination. These discriminations cause frustrations in Negro men because they are not allowed to play the masculine role as defined by American culture. They can not assert themselves or exercise power as white men do. When they protest against racial discrimination there is always the threat that they will be punished by the white world.
In spite of the movement toward the wider integration of the Negro into the general mainstream of American life, middle-class Negroes are still threatened with the loss of positions and earning power if they insist upon their rights. After the Supreme Court of the United States ruled that segregation in public education was illegal, Negro teachers in some parts of the South were dismissed because they would not sign statements supporting racial segregation in education.
As one of the results of not being able to play the masculine role, middle-class Negro males have tended to cultivate their personalities which enable them to exercise considerable influence among whites and achieve distinction in the Negro world. Among Negroes they have been noted for their glamour.° In this respect they resemble women who use their personalities to compensate for their inferior status in relation to men. This fact would seem to support the observation of an American sociologist that the Negro was the lady among the races, if he had restricted his observation to middle-class males among American Negroes.
In the South the middle-class Negro male is not only prevented from playing a masculine role, but generally he must let Negro women assume leadership in any show of militancy. This reacts upon his status in the home where the tradition of female dominance, which is widely established among Negroes, has tended to assign a subordinate role to the male.
In fact, in middle-class families, especially if the husband has risen in social status through his own efforts and married a member of an old family or a society woman, the husband is likely to play a pitiful role. The greatest compliment that can be paid such a husband is that he worships his wife, which means that he is her slave and supports all her extravagances and vanities. But, of course, many husbands in such positions escape from their frustrations by having extra-marital sex relations. Yet the conservative and conventional middle-class husband presents a pathetic picture. He often sits at home alone, impotent physically and socially, and complains that his wife has gone crazy about poker and society and constantly demands money for gambling and expenditures which he can not afford. Sometimes he enjoys the sympathy of a son or daughter who has not become a socialite. Such children often say that they had a happy family life until mamma took to poker.
Preoccupation with poker on the part of the middle-class woman is often an attempt to escape from a frustrated life. Her frustration may be bound up with her unsatisfactory sexual life. She may be married to a glamorous male who neglects her for other women. For among the black bourgeoisie, the glamour of the male is often associated with his sexual activities. The frustration of many Negro women has a sexual origin. Even those who have sought an escape from frustration in sexual promiscuity may, because of satiety or deep psychological reasons, become obsessed with poker in order to escape from their frustrations. One society woman, in justification of her obsession with poker remarked that it had taken the place of her former preoccupation - with sex Another said that to win at poker was similar to a sexual orgasm.
The frustration of the majority of the women among the black bourgeoisie is probably due to the idle or lives which they lead. Those who do not work devote time to the frivolities of Negro society. When they devote their time to charity or worth-while causes; it is generally a form of play or striving for social recognition. They are constantly forming clubs which ostensibly have a serious purpose, but in reality are formed in order to consolidate their position in society or to provide additional occasions for playing poker. The idle, overfed women among the black bourgeoisie are generally, to use their language, dripping with diamonds. They are forever dieting and reducing only to put on more weight (which is usually the result of the food that they consume at their club meetings). Even the women among the black bourgeoisie who work exhibit the same frustrations. Generally, they have no real interest in their work and only engage in it in order to be able to provide the conspicuous consumption demanded by society. As we have indicated, the women as well as the men among the black bourgeoisie read very little and have no interest in music, art or the theater.
They are constantly restless and do not know how to relax. They are generally dull people and only become animated when social matters are discussed, especially poker games. They are afraid to be alone and constantly seek to be surrounded by their friends, who enable them to escape from their boredom. The frustrated lives of the black bourgeoisie are reflected in the attitudes of parents towards their children. Middle- class Negro families as a whole have few children, while among the families that constitute Negro society there are many childless couples. One finds today, as an American observed over forty years ago, that where the children are few, they are usually spoiled in middle-class Negro families. There is often not only a deep devotion to their one or two children, but a subservience to them.
It is not uncommon for the only son to be called and treated as the boss in the family. Parents cater to the transient wishes of their children and often rationalize their behavior towards them on the grounds that children should not be inhibited. They spend large sums of money on their children for toys and especially for clothes. They provide their children with automobiles when they go to college. All of this is done in order that the children may maintain the status of the parents and be eligible to enter the social set in Negro colleges. When they send their children to northern white colleges they often spend more time in preparing them for what they imagine will be their social life than in preparing them for the academic requirements of these institutions.
In their fierce devotion to their children, which generally results in spoiling them, middle-class Negro parents are seemingly striving at times to establish a human relationship that will compensate for their own frustrations in the realm of human relationships. Devotion to their children often becomes the one human tie that is sincere and free from the competition and artificiality of the make-believe world in which they live. Sometimes they may project upon their children their own frustrated professional ambitions. But usually, even when they send their children to northern white universities as a part of their social striving within the Negro community, they seem to hope that their children will have an acceptance in the white world which has been denied them.
3. Self-Hatred and Guilt Feelings
One of the chief frustrations of the middle-class Negro is that he can not escape identification with the Negro race and consequently is subject to the contempt of whites.* Despite his wealth in which he has placed so much faith as a solvent of racial discrimination, he is still subject to daily insults and is excluded from participation in white American society. Middle-class Negroes do not express their resentment against discrimination and insults in violent outbreaks, as lower-class Negroes often do. They constantly repress their hostility toward whites and seek to soothe their hurt self- esteem in all kinds of ratiotializations. They may boast of their wealth and culture as compared with the condition of the poor whites. Most often they will resort to any kind of subterfuge in order to avoid contact with whites.
For example, in the South they often pay their bills by mail rather than risk unpleasant contacts with representatives of white firms. The daily repression of resentment and the constant resort to means of avoiding contacts with whites do not relieve them of their hostility toward whites. Even middle- class Negroes who gain a reputation for exhibiting objectivity and a statesman like attitude on racial discrimination harbor deep-seated hostilities toward whites. A Negro college president who has been considered such an inter-racial statesman once confessed to the writer that some day he was going to break loose and tell white people what he really thought. However, it is unlikely that a middle-class Negro of his standing will ever break loose. Middle-class Negroes generally express their aggressions against whites by other means, such as deceiving whites and utilizing them for their own advantage. Because middle-class Negroes are unable to indulge in aggressions against whites as such, they will sometimes make other minority groups the object of their hostilities.
For example, they may show hostility against Italians, who are also subject to discrimination. But more often middle-class Negroes, especially those who are engaged in a mad scramble to accumulate money, will direct their hostilities against Jews. They are constantly expressing their anti-semitism within Negro circles, while pretending publicly to be free from prejudice. They blame the Jew for the poverty of Negroes and for their own failures and inefficiencies in their business undertakings. In expressing their hostility towards Jews, they are attempting at the same time to identify with the white American majority.
The repressed hostilities of middle-class Negroes to whites are not only directed towards other minority groups but in ward toward themselves. This results in self-hatred, which may appear from their behavior to be directed towards the Negro masses but which in reality is directed against themselves. While pretending to be proud of being a Negro, they ridicule Negroid physical characteristics and seek to modify or efface them as much as possible Within their own groups they constantly proclaim that niggers make them sick. The very use of the term nigger, which they claim to resent, indicates that they want to disassociate themselves from the Negro masses. They talk condescendingly of Africans and of African culture, often even objecting to African sculpture in their homes. They are insulted if they are identified with Africans. They refuse to join organizations that are interested in Africa. If they are of mixed ancestry, they may boast of the fact that they have Indian ancestry. When making compliments concerning the beauty of Negroes of mixed ancestry, they generally say, for example, She is beautiful; she looks like an Indian. On the other hand, if a black woman has European features, they will remark condescendingly, Although she is black, you must admit that she is good looking. Some middle-class Negroes of mixed ancestry like to wear Hindu costumes while they laugh at the idea of wearing an African costume. When middle-class Negroes travel, they studiously avoid association with other Negroes, especially if they themselves have received the slightest recognition by whites.
Even when they can not pass for white they fear that they will lose this recognition if they are identified as Negroes. Therefore, nothing pleases them more than to be mistaken for a Puerto Rican, Philippino, Egyptian or Arab or any ethnic group other than Negro. The self-hatred of middle-class Negroes is often revealed In the keen competition which exists among them for status and recognition. This keen competition is the result of the frustrations which they experience in attempting to obtain acceptance and recognition by whites. Middle-class Negroes are constantly criticizing and belittling Negroes who achieve some recognition or who acquire a status above them. They prefer to submit to the authority of whites than to be subordinate to other Negroes. For example, Negro scholars generally refuse to seek the advice and criticism of competent Negro scholars and prefer to turn to white scholars for such co-operation. In fact, it is difficult for middle-class Negroes to co-operate in any field of endeavor. This failure in social relations is, as indicated in an important study, because in every Negro he encounters his own self-contempt. It is as if he said, You are only a Negro like myself; so why should you be in a position above me?
This self-hatred often results in guilt feelings on the part of the Negro who succeeds in elevating himself above his fellows. He feels unconsciously that in rising above other Negroes he is committing an act of aggression which will remit in hatred and revenge on their part. The act of aggression may be imagined, but very often it is real. This is the case when middle-class Negroes oppose the economic and social welfare of Negroes because of their own interests In some American Cities, it has been the black bourgeoisie and not the whites who have opposed the building of low- cost public housing for Negro workers. In one city two wealthy Negro doctors, who have successfully opposed public housing projects for Negro workers, own some of the worst slums in the United States.
While their wives, who wear mink coats, drip with diamonds and are written up in the society columns of Negro newspapers, ride in Cadillacs, their Negro tenants sleep on the dirt floors of hovels unfit for human habitation The guilt feelings of the middle- class Negro are not always unconscious. For example, take the case of the Negro leader who proclaimed over the radio in a national broadcast that the Negro did not want social equity. He was conscious of his guilt feelings and his self- hatred in playing such a role, for he sent word privately to the writer that he never hated so much to do anything in his life, but that it was necessary because of his position as head of a state college which was under white supervision. The self-hatred of the middle-class Negro arises, then, not only from the fact that he does not want to be a Negro but also because of his sorry role in American society.
4. Escape into Delusions:
The black bourgeoisie, as we have seen, has created a world of make-believe to shield itself from the harsh economic and social realities of American life. This world of make-believe is created out of the myth of Negro business, the reports of the Negro press on the achievements and wealth of Negroes, the recognition accorded them by whites, . and the fabulous life of Negro society. Some of the middle- class Negro intellectuals are not deceived by the world of make-believe They will have nothing to do with Negro society and refuse to waste their time in frivolities They take their work seriously and live in relative obscurity so far as. the Negro world is concerned. Others seek an escape from their frustrations by developing, for example, a serious interest in Negro musicwhich the respectable black bourgeoisie often pretend to despise. In this way these intellectuals achieve some identification with the Negro masses and with the traditions of Negro life. But many more middle- class Negroes, who are satisfied to live in the world of make-believe but must find a solution to the real economic and social problems which they face, seek an escape in delusions.
They seek an escape in delusions involving wealth. This is facilitated by the fact that they have had little experience with the real meaning of wealth and that they lack a tradition of saving and accumulation. Wealth to them means spending money without any reference to its source. Hence, their behavior generally reflects the worst qualities of the gentleman and peasant from whom their only vital traditions spring. Therefore, their small accumulations of capital and the income which they receive from professional services within the Negro community make them appear wealthy in comparison with the low economic status of the majority of Negroes. The delusion of wealth is supported by the myth of Negro business. Moreover, the attraction of the delusion of wealth is enhanced by the belief that wealth will gain them acceptance in American life. In seeking an escape in the delusion of wealth, middle-class Negroes make a fetish of material things or physical possessions.
They are constantly buying thingshouses, automobiles, furniture and all sorts of gadgets, not to mention clothes. Many of the furnishings and gadgets which they acquire are never used; nevertheless they continue to accumulate things. The homes of many middle-class Negroes have the appearance of museums for the exhibition of American manufactures and spurious art objects. The objects which they are constantly buying are always on display. Negro school teachers who devote their lives to society like to display twenty to thirty pairs of shoes, the majority of which they never wear. Negro professional men proudly speak of the two automobiles which they have acquired when they need only one. The acquisition of objects which are not used or needed seems to be an attempt to fill some void in their lives.
The delusion of power also appears to provide an escape for middle-class Negroes from the world of reality which pierces through the world of make-believe of the black bourgeoisie. The positions of power which they occupy in the Negro world often enable them to act autocratically towards other Negroes, especially when they have the support of the white community. In such cases the delusion of power may provide an escape from their frustrations. It is generally, however, when middle-class Negroes hold positions enabling them to participate in the white community that they seek in the delusion of power an escape from their frustrations. Although their position may be only a token of the integration of the Negro into American life, they will speak and act as if they were a part of the power structure of American society. Negro advisers who are called into council by whites to give advice about Negroes are especially likely to find an escape from their feelings of inferiority in the delusion of power. Negro social workers, who are dependent upon white philanthropy, have often gained the reputation, with the support of the Negro press, of being powerful persons in American communities.
However, the majority of the black bourgeoisie who seek an escape from their frustrations in delusions seemingly have not been able to find it in the delusion of wealth or power. They have found it in magic or chance, and in sex and alcohol. Excessive drinking and sex seem to provide a means for narcotizing the middle-class Negro against a frustrating existence. A social function is hardly ever considered a success unless a goodly number of the participants pass out. But gambling, especially poker, which has become an obsession among many middle-class Negroes, offers the chief escape into delusion. Among the black bourgeoisie it is not simply a device for winning money. It appears to be a magical device for enhancing their self-esteem through overcoming fate. Although it often involves a waste of money which many middle-class Negroes can not afford, it has an irresistible attraction which they often confess they can not overcome.
Despite the tinsel, glitter and gaiety of the world of make- believe in which middle-class Negroes take refuge, they are still beset by feelings of insecurity, frustration and guilt. As a consequence, the free and easy life which they appear to lead is a mask for their unhappy existence.
is when you have laws set up, systematically put in a way to keep
people from advancing, to stop the advancement of a people. Black
people have never had the power to enforce racism, and so this is
something that white America is going to have to work out themselves.
If they decide they want to stop it, curtail it, or to do the right
thing ... then it will be done, but not until then.
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