PROSPECTIVES ON RACISM

THESE EXPRESSED PRECEPTIONS OF RACIST WHITES IN AMERICA COMES TO LIGHT AGAIN. WHAT HAS CHANGED IS HOW THE MAJORITY OF WHITES IN AMERICA FEEL TODAY ABOUT THIS SUSTAINED ANIMOSITY, AGGRESSION AND VENOM TOWARDS BLACKS AND OTHER MINORITIES.      

WITH EVERYTHING GOING ON REGARDING RACISM AND UNEQUAL JUSTICE IT GOT ME TO THINKING, WHY? SO IN MY ATTEMPTS TO OBTAIN A REASONABLE AND THOUGHT OUT EXPLANATION AND DESCRIPTION, I WENT TO THE BOOKS TO GET SOME PROSPECTIVE OF THESE HATEFUL AND DESCRIMITORY ASPECTS OF OUR SOCIETY. I REACHED FOR A BOOK TITLED “THE PSYCHOLOGY OF BLACKS” BY THOMAS A. PARHAM, JOSEPH L. WHITE AND ADISA AJAMU. THE BOOK GIVES A VERY DESCRIPTIVE INTERPRETATION OF THE ABOVE AND IT’S INPACT ON BLACKS AND OTHER MINORITIES AS WELL AS HOW IT IS PERPETUATED. 

UNDERSTANDING THE RACIST’S MENTALITY WILL REQUIRE THAT WE RELY ON SOME NONTRADITIONAL SOURCES TO IMFORM OUR THINKING. WE CANNOT AFFORD TO BECOME CONCEPTUALLY INCARCERATED BY UTILIZING A NARROW FRAMEWORK OF OVERUSED DEFINITIONS THAT CONSTRICT OUR DISCOURSE. IN JAMES JONES’S SEMINAL WORK “PREJUDICE AND RACISM” HE BEGINS TO BOTH DEFINE THE CONCEPT OF RACISM AND OFFER SOLUTIONS FOR ATTACKING THE PROBLEM. 

IN DEFINING THE CONCEPT, HE RECOGNIZED THAT RACISM IS A MULTIDIMENSIONAL CONSTRUCT IN THAT INDIVIDUAL THOUGHT, FEELINGS, AND RESPONSE (COGNITIVE, AFFECTIVE, AND BEHAVIORAL) DIMENSIONS OF ONE’S PERSONALITY ARE GUIDED IN A DIRECTION THAT NEGATIVELY IMPACTS UPON THE LIVES OF OTHERS. ALLOWING FOR AN ANALYSIS OF SOME POTENTIALLY COMPLEX DYNAMICS WHERE WHITES ARE SEEN AS THE INSTITUTIONAL GATEKEEPERS OF A RACIST SYSTEM. THUS IRRESPECTIVE OF HOW ONE COMES TO UNDERSTAND THE CONCEPT OF RACISM, THERE IS LITTLE DOUBT THAT IT’S ORIGINS, PROMOTIONS, AND CONTINUATION ARE ANCHORED IN THE CONTEXT OF HOW WHITES RELATE TO AFRICAN-DESCENT PEOPLE AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR ON INDIVIDUAL, INSTITUTIONAL, AND CULTURAL LEVELS. 

IN AN EFFORT TO PROBE DEEPER INTO THE PSYCHE OF RACIST WHITES, AN ANALYSES BY DR. FRANCES CRESS-WELSING OR SISTER MARIMBA ANI, IN A TEXT “THE ISIS PAPERS”. SHE ADVANCED CRESS THEORY OF COLOR CONFRONTATION. SHE IMPLYS THAT THE FOUNDATION OF WHITE PEOPLE’S OPPRESSION AGAINST AFRICAN-AMERICANS RESTS WITH THEIR ANXIETY OVER THEIR NUMERICAL INADEQUANCY. THEIR INABILITY TO PRODUCE OFFSPRING OF COLOR, IT IS BELIEVED, INSTIGATES A SENSE OF DEFENSIVENESS THAT MANIFESTS ITSELF IN AN UNCONTROLLABLE SENSE OF HOSTILITY AND AGGRESSION. DELVING FURTHER INTO THE PSYCHE OF WHITE PEOPLE, CRESS-WELSING DISCUSSES A NUMBER OF DEFENSE MECHANISMS THAT SERVE TO PROTECT WHITE PEOPLE’S EGO FROM THIS ANXIETY AND DEEP-SEATED FEAR. AMONG THOSE CONSIDERED MOST SALIENT ARE REPRESSION (OF THE PAINFUL FEARS) AND REACTION FORMATION, WHICH IS A PSYCHOLOGICAL RESPONSE THAT CONVERTS SOMETHING DESIRED AND ENVIED INTO SOMETHING THAT BECOMES THE OBJECT OF DEGRADATION AND DISGUST, RACISM, THEN, AND A PLAN OF GLOBAL WHITE SUPREMACY, BECOME THE ULTIMATE MANIFESTATION OF HOSTILITY AND REJECTION THEY (WHITES) FEEL TOWARDS THEMSELVES. 

IN SEEKING TO OFFER A LESS PSYCHOANALYTICALLY ORIENTED BUT EQUALLY PENETRATING ANALYSIS OF THE WHITE PSYCHE, MARIMBA ANI DISCUSSED IN HER TEXT YURUGU”.  SHE EXAMINED THE EVOLUTION OF WHITE EUROPEAN AMERICAN PEOPLES” IMPOSITION OF AFRICAN PROPLE IN AMERICA AND THROUGHOUT THEIR DISPLACEMENT. IN HELPING TO DEXONSTRUCT THE THOUGHT PROCESS OF WHITE PEOPLE, ANI EXPLAINED THE HABITUAL WAYS THAT WHITE PEOPLE EXERCISE THEIR INFLUENCE OVER PEOPLE OF COLOR. WHILE INTRODUCING A NEW AFRICAN-CENTERED VOCABULARY TO FACILITATE THE UNDERSTANDING OF WHITE PEOPLE. ANI CONCLUDED THAT THEIR CULTURAL NATURE OF AGGRESSIVENESS, DISTRUST, HOSTILITY, AND COMPETITIVENESS MAKES IT DIFFICULT , IF NOT IMPOSSIBLE, TO FORM GENUINE, AUTHENTIC RELATIONSHIPS WITH AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER PEOPLE OF COLOR. THE BASIS FOR WHITE PEOPLE’S RESPONSE (THOUGHTS, FEELINGS, BEHAVIORS) TOWARDS OTHERS IS THEN ASSUMED TO BE THE MANIFESTATION OF AN INCOMPLETE DESPIRITUALIZED SELF IN SEARCH OF FULFILLMENT AND EQUILIBRIUM IT HAS YET TO FIND. EMOTIONAL SECURITY BECOMES ANCHORED IN MATERIAL POSSESSION AND CONTROL AND THUS INSTINCTIVE REACTION OF WHITES TOWARD OTHERS IN AN INSATIABLE DESIRE FOR POWER AND DOMINATION. 

IN CONTRAST, MICHAEL D’ANDREA AND JUDY DANIELS (BOTH OF WHOM ARE WHITE) ARGUED THAT WHITE RACISM IS ROOTED IN BOTH WHITE PEOPLE’S ACTION AND INACTION.  THEIR WORK SUGGESTS THAT WHITES ARE INDEED RACIST, BUT COMMONLY MANIFEST MORE UNINTENTIONAL-COVERT FORMS OF THE SOCIAL ILL. THEY IMPLY THAT MOST WHITES ARE NOT ONLY OBLIVIOUS TO THEIR OWN RACIST BEHAVIORS, BUT ARE HESITANT TO CHALLENGE OTHER WHITES OR INSTITUTIONS ABOUT MORE SYSTEMATIC MANIFESTATIONS. 

THE PROBLEMS OF RACE AND RACISM CONTINUE TO PLAGUE THIS NATION. THE CHALLENGE OF CONFRONTING THE SOCIAL ILLS OF OUR DAY REQUIRES THE ADOPTION OF SPECIFIC ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES. OUR CHILDREN NEED TO BE EDUCATED ABOUT THE NATURE OF RACISM AND WHITE SUPREMACY SUCH THAT THEY LEARN TO NEGOTIATE SUCCESSFULLY THE PATHWAYS TO PRODUCTIVITY AND SUCCESS. FURTHER, NOT TO ALLOW THE HISTORICAL AND CONTEMPORY REALITIES OF RACISM TO CONTAMINATE OUR CONSCIOUSNESS SO THROUGHLY THAT WE LOSE HOPE IN THE POSSIBILITY OF SUBSTANTIVE CHANGE. HOWEVER, IT REMAINS CRYSTAL CLEAR THAT CONFRONTING RACISM AND SYSTEMS OF WHITE SUPREMACY ARE NOT THE SOLE RESPONSIBILITY OF AFRICAN-AMERICAN PEOPLE OR A FEW LIBERAL-MINDED, SOCIALLY CONSCIOUS, PROGRESSIVE WHITES. NATIONAL CONVERSATIONS ON RACE ARE A GOOD START, BUT OUR NATION IS IN NEED OF MORE THAN CONVERSATIONS AND MEETINGS. OUR EDUCATION SYSTEMS NEED TO INFUSE SOME ANTIRACISM CONTENT INTO THE CURRICULUM; OUR WORKPLACES COULD BENEFIT FROM CONTINUED DIVERSITY TRAINING, OUR CHURCHES COULD BENEFIT FROM DISCUSSIONS ON HOW TO ACHIEVE GREATER LEVELS OF CONGRUENCE BETWEEN WHAT IS PREACHED AND WHAT IS PRACTICED BY THEIR CONGREGATIONS; AND OUR RESEARCH AND WRITING ON RACISM NEED TO BE EXPANDED TO INCLUDE AN ANALYSIS OF THE PRIVILEGES WHITES INHERIT AND ENJOY BECAUSE OF THEIR RACIAL BACKGROUND, AND NOT SIMPLY THE WAYS AFRICAN-AMERICANS AND OTHER FOLKS OF COLOR ARE DISADVANTAGED BY RACIST SYSTEMS. THE WHITE COMMUNITY IS INVITED TO UNDERSTAND THE OPPORTUNITY TO ELIMINATE AND DISMANTLE RACISM IS A THREAT TO THOSE WHO ONLY SEE FAILURE, BUT A CHALLENGE TO THOSE WHO SEE THE BENEFITS OF CREATING AN EQUITABLE AND MORE HUMAN SOCIETY. CORNELL WEST, IN HIS TEXT ” RACE MATTERS” WAS CLEAR ON THE POINT THAT TO ENGAGE IN A SERIOUS DISCUSSION OF RACE IN AMERICA, MUST BEGIN NOT WITH THE PROBLEMS OF BLACK (AND OTHER OPPRESSED) PEOPLE, BUT WITH THE FLAWS OF AMERICAN SOCIETY ITSELF. ONE OF THE FLAWS, IS THE REFUSAL BY THE LARGER WHITE COMMUNITY TO TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR ERADICATING RACISM. 

 

 

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