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.
So I just read an piece on TheRoot.com. Basically, the author explained that the Washington Post put together a list "The 10 D.C. Guys We've All Dated." So I guess since the Washington Post put out a mean spirited list about White men, a Black magazine would just have to follow suit. "10 Types of Guys that Black Women have Dated" is a list of cleverly described, but basically undesirable guys. It talks about "The God," who is apparently ideal, on paper, but horrible to be around in person. Or the "Mr. Disappearing Act," who like his name disappears after being told "I really like him."
Anyway, I guess my question is, "was this really needed." I mean, aren't there enough negative portrayals of Black men in media.? Why does a media site that is supposed to speak to and for Black communities putting out a list like this? To answer my own question, I really do not know. I doubt that the author was thinking that she was supporting negative stereo types, or that she adding fuel to the purportedly troubled relationship between Black folks and their relationship partners. In fact, I think she thought her list was funny, and that it was harmless. But as a Black man, I do feel harmed. The essentializing of Black men is not better or worse that the essentializing of Black women, or Black people in general. So though I can not assume that the author thought that she was doing something that is actually harmful, I also can not assume that she would be so dense as to not understand that her list was just mean...
What do you think? Am I trippin?
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...
So this is going to be something of an eclectic blog. Pretty much because I am a something of an eclectic guy, lol. I like to be serious about serious things and silly about everything else. I decided to build this blog in order to share some the things that I have learned over the the course of a young life spent with family, friends, classmates, teammates, teachers, coaches, mentors, a few past romantic interests, and one Soul Mate.
Many of my posts will address psychological concepts, as that is my area of expertise. My theoretical orientation (i.e., how I understand the human condition and how to help people change) is largely based on a cognitive behavioral therapeutic model, which I couch within a multicultural and interpersonal context. To me, being rooted in the present allows people to have a better understanding of their options and choices. This gives them some space to breath and lets them know that whatever the crisis is, there is a way to deal with it.
One thing that that confounds the reality testing process is when your reality sucks... This is where my social justice ideals begin to overlap with my clinical work. Basically, if your reality sucks, you can either try to look at it from a different angle, or you can try to change your reality. When it comes to social justice, I try to do a bit of both. For me, I find meaning in the belief that we can all make some sort of difference, even if it's small.. And that the most profound changes are the ones that we make in ourselves.
So what is my message? It's that we can all do better, and that doing better is the point. So come check out this blog, read my points, tell me when I'm full of crap, and accept it when folks prove that you are full of crap. Cause the truth is that we all have some piece of the truth, but we are mostly not quiet enough to recognize it.
Just a Thought.... #CarryOn
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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