Thinking about the folks in Ferguson Missouri, and the tragedy of a young man's death, I thought it would be good to share this information. I have used this video to help teach young men of African descent how be informed of their rights and how to increase their chances of surviving encounters with the police. Take a look at it, and tell me what you think.http://youtu.be/s4nQ_mFJV4I?t=1m26s
1. There are more physical variations between members of the same race, than between members of different races. This is because race is not based on genetics. It is based on very broadly defined physical characteristics. In fact, in many ways, color based race is really a taxonomy of how close your ancestors lived to the equator.
2. The concept of race is not universal. Using race as a way to categorize people is a relatively new thing. The taxonomy of race was developed during the enlightenment period in Europe. Before then, people might be classified by their family, their tribe, their religion, or their allegiance to one state or another. Skin color was noticeable, but it was not associated with inferiority or superiority.
3. Racism is not genetic, it is learned. This means that you do not have to be White to hold racist beliefs, in fact many people of color hold racist beliefs about themselves and their peers. Anyone who is taught racist beliefs can learn those beliefs and act in accordance to those beliefs.
"There is no such thing
4. Racism only moves in one direction. It is a belief system that supports White privilege (as sexism supports male privilege). This means that when we talk about racism, by definition we are talking about supporting White privilege. Therefore anyone can learn to be racist, as anyone can support White privilege.
"you can choose to be aware of [privilege] and actively work to reduce its impact on you and the people around you."
5. Black privilege does not exist in the United States. Based on the history of European colonialism, enslavement of Africans, and the genocide of Native Americans, there is no credible argument that Black people or other people of color control more power in the United States than White people. This means that there is no such thing as reverse racism. I just does not exist.
6. Race is assigned through societal power. People do not get to choose their race. Race does not describe intrinsic qualities in individuals, instead it proscribes how individuals will be treated by society. This also means that race based privilege is not something that can be taken-on or shed.
7. Race based privilege, like all privilege, is an external force that people have a relationship with. You can choose how you will relate to your privilege or lack of privilege. You can choose to pretend it is not there. Or you can choose to be aware of it and actively work to reduce its impact on you and the people around you.
One aspect of cultural competency that has served me well in clinical work is to be able to use emic knowledge of a client's cultural beliefs, in order to reframe a thought process in a way that both conforms to the reality of their circumstance and the reality defined by their personal cultural worldview.
What's the difference between the Holy Ghost, the Super Ego, and the metacognitive self? It's all just an operationalization of a universal phenomenon, the difference comes in its usefulness to the client in the moment...
Just a thought...
About the Author...
I'm an African American man with a Ph.D. in Counseling Psychology. I'm married. I am a professor, a clinician, a social justice advocate, a multicultural competence trainer, a dog owner, an ex-professional photographer (i.e., people paid me, lol), and a self proclaimed nerd, who loves Sci-Fi, Anime, Zombie fiction, cooking shows, character studies, anti-heroes, and telling people about things that I like...
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