Helping Folks to Choose Love Over a Fear Emotional Continuim
If You Cut Me, Do I Not Bleed?
If My Child Or spouse Dies, Do I Not Grieve?
Do I Not Fear, Or Love As You Do?
Even if you believe that you do not prejudice, please read the following and understand that all of us or our ancestors have directly or indirectly, explicitly or implicitly been complicit in our Black Afro-American citizens experiencing obstacles to their right of social and opportunity equality. Prejudicing can be both a disdain for another group or the feeling that “your” group has some sort of superiority. History shows us that with respect to every “tribal” grouping, with equality of opportunity comes equality of accomplishment.
Now Is The Time-Today Is The Day To Begin A Process Of Giving Up Explicit And Implicit Disdain For People Of Black Afro-American Heritage And Their Ancestors. It is a reconciliation that would provide a pathway to fully recognizing their extreme humanity and their past denial of equal opportunity in fully participating in the American experience.
These are a people, who despite having obstacle after obstacle put in their path have given their effort and blood in every American conflict and, step by step, without violence against their oppressors, they have placed an ever larger footprint in the arts, literature, science, technology and most of all in the humanity of our nation state. They are a people unique in human history. Their ancestors survived the purgatory of a slave existence that tore out the very fiber of any past ethnicity. During the slavery period, they were deprived of all but a sliver of the primary human Need to have control over our own living ( see: walking out of the caves.org). They took the little that they were permitted to, generation after generation, clinging to their humanity. They took the music they were permitted, the religion that was foisted upon them, whatever family life they could eke out and they survived.
They survived a caldron of hell that no one living today could possibly imagine. They came out of it a new people ready to learn about the society they had so rudely been brought to, and in which they had so badly been treated. They persevered no matter the obstacles coming out of a continuing prejudice. It has been a journey not unlike the salmon swimming up-stream against the current. Undeterred, they keep going toward their destiny.
In this writing we are going to give a short and incomplete rendition of 1) why we owe these people an apology, 2) express our recognition of their heroism and humanity as a people and 3) to thank them for the peaceful nature of their journey. Our effort is fueled by the recognition that the history in this matter makes it our responsibility, as non-Black Afro-Americans, to take this first step toward a necessary reconciliation. It is the beginning of what will be an extended inner search and change in behaviors to bring justice under our shared American heritage.
Our shared heritage is expressed in our Declaration of Independence and the contract under which we are united in our citizenship, our Constitution, as amended. We must finally and for all time recognize that all women and men of all skin tones are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable, legal and social rights. Let no one put asunder what our Creator determined. It is with these last two statements that we of light skin tone have been complicit directly, or indirectly, under the prejudicial idea of “white superiority” to limit opportunity, rights and acceptance of the humanity of Black Afro-Americans.
Our journey begins with the idea and reality of slavery. It is the taking away of another human being’s control over their own living. It is putting that human being into the servitude of another as though they were a chair, a table, or a cow. (Dred Scott vs Sandford, United States Supreme Court 1857) A cow is probably the more identifiable item, because, if a slave has any children, they belong to the slave holder. Today this idea should shock you. Under Jesus’ learnings, this idea should have been shocking in any age.
The reality at the core of all of our human emotional-intellectual interacting with our environment is that we have as our primary Need to be in control over our own living. (see: walking out of the caves.org) Slavery is a deprivation of this Need. There is in fact a congruency among 1) our having a positive self-esteem; 2) making a choice, or series of choices, that represents having the elements of a choice being within us and representing our conscious inter-acting with externalities (things outside of us) This is a choice that does not have Fear elements including, but not limited to angering, prejudicing, jealousing and a need for things outside of us to give us value, i.e. social, economic and/or political position and 3) our having control over our own living.
This congruency of meaning is like an equilateral triangle. It represents an identity of equal length of the sides and the interior angles. It is representative of what the famed 1950s psychologist Abraham Maslow, called a self-actualized choice. A self-actualized choice is a choice that represents control over our living. It is also a choice for which we accept responsibility. Accepting responsibility means that we generally recognize blame as a wasteful exercise when trying to overcome a challenge.
The reason for raising the idea of choice-making and its relationship to self-esteem is that the history of American slavery and its aftermath is very much the story of how people go about identifying themselves, how they re-identify themselves and whether this self-identification is based on reality or illusion. Whether we identify ourselves through a reality, or an illusion, depends on our choice-making as reflected through our self-opinion and whether it is positive or not. 3) Rape and sexual assault, which were a part of the Black American slavery experience, are as examples of one person trying to exercise control over another. They are examples of the victim losing control over their own living. This is why they are so heinous. They are experiences we can relate to today. Even though they are a part of our modern living, if we have not been a victim, we can only imagine the effect. Now, imagine an even greater loss of control over your living. Imagine this loss of control day after day, year after year, generation after generation. Imagine beating a human being into submission while they are helpless to resist or cutting off a limb as punishment for disobedience. Imagine that person is your great grandfather or mother. Imagine a family member being subject to sale like a horse or cow. There was a constant attack on a primary human Need. Close your eyes. Can you see it? Can you feel it?
From the “technical” freedom time marked by the Thirteenth, Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments of the Constitution, to the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting Rights laws in the mid-1960s, some one hundred years later, Black Afro-American citizens experienced 1) thousands of murders by lynching; 2) impeding, by physical threats, educational and other requirements, to their voting rights and 3) by continuous efforts through “Jim Crow” state and local laws to attack them as being inferior, or non-human beings. It was a white superiority attitude enculturated during the slavery period and relied on after the Civil War.
Despite the stealing of their labor during the slavery period, there was after the war a failure to provide the resources necessary for them to acquire a primary education. This was after being totally denied education while in slavery. There were also significant impediments for college and graduate school education.
After the passage of the Civil Rights and Voting laws in the 1960s there was a massive change in voter registration by white people in the Southern states from the Democratic to the Republican party. Blame for these laws was, because the effort for them and their passage was under a Democratic President, placed on the Democratic party. President Johnson, to his credit was a Southerner. President Truman, who had relatives in the Confederate army, was responsible in 1948 for integrating Black people into the armed services. Despite court decisions and laws, there have been ongoing efforts to get around this progress.
Today, parents of Black Afro-American sons find it necessary to direct their sons to act in an extremely solicitous way when confronted by law authorities. The obvious result is to have these youngsters feel deprived of some degree of control over their own living. It leaves an unacceptable scar on their social consciousness. They understand that their parents are telling them that they are less valued than a white youngster.
Going back to the beginning of the prejudicial-bullying acts of the atrocity constituting slavery of Black African people we should look at the participants in the business. They were the investors, the facilitators in the slave trade system and the slave holders. The investors were world-wide, including Northern and Southern residents of the colonies and thereafter the states. Facilitators include those in 4) the harvesting, shipping and sale of Black African people. They were of varied backgrounds, including other Africans, Moslem traders, British and American ship captains and crews. The third leg of the slavery triad was the domestic slave activity, including the buying by slave holders. They were, as a generality, Southern colonial and later state area residents.We’re going to focus on the slave holders, because they, as human beings, created the market need for slavery. We also focus on them, because they were the human beings who had to constantly reinforce in their minds a justification for imposing the slave existence. We focus on them because they needed the externality sphere of personal, social and financial influence. They were the ones who created the world of their spouses, overseers and their associates, as well as suppliers and the general “lower class.” This focusing requires our looking at history and, more importantly, the required emotional mind set.
Historically slavery occurred from capture during military conflict and failure to repay debt. However, by the 1600S when slavery first visited the North American shores, Christianity required a moral justification. The religious justification proposed was a reference to an Old Testament story that is purported to say that a dark skin toned people should be punished. First, it should be recognized that this is the first time in all of known human history that a difference in skin tone, “race,” was used to justify slavery. Second, a people living essentially adjacent to the Hebrews would have had a similar skin tone to them. Skin tone differences among human beings are a direct result of the proximity of their ancestors to the Equator. The closer to the Equator, the darker the skin tone. It is a biological response to the absorbing of vitamin D.
It is beyond question that the idea of “race” is a social or tribal concept and not a scientific determination of any difference among people having differing skin tones. German scientists attempted to determine differences in the early 1900s. They requested and were provided skulls and brains from Black people, murdered by German troops while putting down a rebellion in an area they occupied in Africa. There was, and is, no finding of differences between white and Black physiology.
There is a greater physiological difference between a man and a woman than two people having different skin tones. It’s interesting when men talk about “white superiority” that they are talking about white Western European male superiority. Essentially, they use the same definition that was used by the Nazi regime. However, the Nazi regime held that persons having less than one-eigth Jewish blood were not to be deemed ass being Jewish, while American Southern jurisdictions held that one drop of “Black” blood caused a person to be deemed Black.
When looking at the reality of what is called “Western civilization,” which is what advocates of white supremacy look to in support of their propaganda, we see that it doesn’t exist. Western civilization is a society that is part of a compilation and derivation of many non-western societies. The idea of an isolated, insolated, self-derived civilization is a device used to create a tribal identity having as little reality as race and no purpose except prejudice. Prejudice is a Fear of other human beings or 5) group of human beings. It is an expression of a lack of positive self-feeling that “another” is chosen to be targeted as being inferior or having some other social impediment. If it had any historical survival value, it has none today. Historically it has been used by leaders to develop followers and to convince them of the fear required for the prejudice. It is a tool. The leaders either are true believers, in which case they are expressing their own sense of inferiority, or they believe their followers to be fools. The only identifiable differences between individuals or groups is whether they are making choices from the Fear portion of the human emotional continuum, or the Love portion(see: walking out of the caves.org). Prejudice is on the Fear side. Learning enables a human being to change their emotional posture. A person experiencing the reality of control over their living has an associated positive self-esteem. The positive self-esteem results in not having a need to prejudice.
Several hundred years prior to Jesus, Alexander “the Great,” as he is characterized historically, invaded the Persian Empire. His success opened a hole into the European peninsula. It allowed for the flow of many ideas that were a part of the Persian and Egyptian societies, and those that existed in the Middle East prior to them. His entrance into the Northern provinces of India introduced their flow of ideas. The Roman conquest of the Greek peninsula heightened and expanded the flow of ideas. The Moslems reached into Europe during their expansionary period. Beginning trade with China, the conquests by the Mongolian Empire in areas of China and Europe during the 1200s increased the ebb and flow of ideas. These Asian connections are represented in the writings of Marco Polo, who was preceded by his father and uncle. Just as no person is an island, no society is an isolated development.
At the time of Jesus’ living, the Germanic tribes of Northern Europe were living in huts. There were no major cities. There is no history of a written language, arts, or science. There is evidence of worship of trees and other elements in nature, some of which, like the Christmas tree, were incorporated into their acceptance of Christianity. The Christian religion practiced in Western Europe has as its core lineage the Middle East document known as the Old Testament and has as its founders, Peter and Paul, both products of Middle East learnings.
During the Dark Age of Europe, it was the Muslim societies that maintained the science, literature and arts of humanity. They were also responsible during those centuries for the growing of knowledge. During the Bubonic plague that wiped out over a third of the European population the ill- educated peoples of Europe blamed witches, gypsies and Jewish communities for the illnss. Then we have the ultimate triumph of white supremacy with two world wars in which millions of human beings died.
Jesus in his presentation of new learnings said we should love others as we love ourselves. He did not say that we should differentiate the others by their skin tone or sex or any qualification. It is historically accepted that over the last couple of centuries white Western European and American men have been prominent in the development of ideas and devices in the areas of 6) transportation, science, medicine and in Western arts and literature. Missing in this picture are white Western European and American women. If the argument of white supremacists is that it is genetics that makes them superior, where are the mothers, grandmothers, sisters and wives. Accomplishment within a society is, without any reputable opposing evidence, the function of perceived need of the society and opportunity of its individual citizens.
Also, missing historically and in the present is a showing of some superiority, physical or intellectual, by those proposing the white superiority message. Historically and today, those espousing superiority are generally expressing a need within themselves to feel better about themselves and using others as a foil to achieve that end. We call the behavior coming out of this need prejudice and the acting on the prejudice as being bullying. The way their lack of positive self-esteem is expressed is similar to that of terrorists and gang. members.
Using a Biblical story to rationalize slavery because of skin tone was not a moral conclusion. Slave holders had to have realized this and at some level of their humanity to be conflicted by it. But they had a challenge. Without a large inexpensive labor force, their landholdings were without real value. The high value crops of rice, tobacco, cotton and sometimes sugar cane and beet crops were going to be out of reach. In addition to the large labor force that was necessary, there was a need for workers who would work under arduous climate conditions for long hours. Even if a voluntary labor force had been found, it would have had to be paid at a rate that would have made the project financially untenable.
The answer for the slave holders was the large number of Black Africans that could be harvested. Individual prejudice requires an existing group being held in societal disdain. With regard to Black African slavery, a perception had been grown to justify it. The justification was that they were not really human beings. They were from the Dark Continent. The justification relied on the concomitant idea of white superiority. This is an obvious circular self-serving argument. It is similar to the one that justified colonialism by the European countries.
The circular self-serving Black-African slavery justification added no morality. Black slavery by the American slave holders was a blatant effort for them to become wealthy. They were acquiring a labor force that was otherwise unavailable to them. Because the labor was based on slave labor, slave holders had the immense advantage of not having to pay market wages. They made their fortunes for hundreds of years by stealing labor value from the Black slave population. This wealth, in turn, when spent, created a Southern lifestyle of seeming leisure, sophistication and gentility. They were known for their manners and Black entertainment. Their wealth filtered to overseers, enforcement personnel, suppliers and a large white underclass “want-a-bee’s.” Their wealth, including trade of their crops, also filtered to the North and Europe.
The slave holders had the power of an emperor or king. He could rent-out or sell off one of a couple, who had lived as husband and wife, or their child. He coulde cld der this pretense relieve himself sexually with any of 7) his slaves, female or, there is some historical data, male. At the same time, the abuse made clear his absolute control over them. His sense of control heightened his illusionary sense of positive self-esteem. These same acts by him caused his victim to be intimidated and diminished in their humanity. It was a conscious effort to cause his victims to feel inferior.
This lifestyle of depravity did not give the reality of control over their own living to any of the participants. The slave holders and the community around them lived through their prejudice to justify their lifestyle. In addition to the physical abuse, there was constant reference to a slave being ugly because of their skin tone and referring to male slaves as “boy” no matter their age. The result of this verbal abuse is apparent in Black society up to the present.
Although, many of today’s light skin toned population cannot identify with the comparatively recent past history of Black Afro-Americans and their ancestry, you can close your eyes and try to imagine the stigma, the bad taste, the revulsion, the communal memory of the slavery experience that still reasonably lives in the soul of today’s Black descendants. This is evident in movements such as “Black is Beautiful” and “Black Lives Matter.” It is evident in the revulsion of a Black man being referred to as “boy.” It is evident in the Black male community often referring to individual members with a slave derived negative term. No other minority grouping, such as people descending from Italian, German, Jewish or Irish heritage, have internalized a derogatory reference to each other.
As a part of the slave prejudice de-humanization process and as a justification for it, the slaves were characterized as being lazy, stupid, lacking in morality and without any quality of soul that would allow for heavenly redemption. This became a white inbred mantra over decades and then centuries. It became a part of the white folks’ psyche that they forgot how it started or its veracity. It was so institutionalized that, during most of the 1900s in the South, a Black person could be a white person’s mid- wife, their child care person, a food preparer and server, but not be permitted to have personal use of the home’s toilet facility. They might be a part of the food preparation in a restaurant or hotel, but not be permitted to sit in the serving part of the restaurant, or stay at the hotel. Time hardened the mortar of alleged Black deficiencies.
Slaves were brought to Christianity through an oral learning process. They had not been permitted to learn to read or write. Presumably, the intent was for them to learn to turn the other cheek. Remarkably, the Christian learning sessions, when combined with their allowed instrumental playing, singing and musical creation evolved into their own vibrant services and an accompanying sustaining of their humanity. It became a humanity that exceeded the humanity of their then oppressors and all those since, to the preset day. We often hear words of forgiveness from them when a relative or fellow parishioner is murdered or assaulted.
The Southern slave areas, despite a façade of gentility and manners, had an interesting fascination to sexual relationships. Obviously, rape by the slave holder, his overseer and those permitted by him of female slaves was constant and the results prolific. As a result of rape activity, the slave areas 8) passed laws changing the common law presumption from a child assuming the father’s heritage to assuming the mother’s. There was also some sort of fear or fascination of the male slave’s genitalia that was expressed in the disdain of the slave holder’s spouse, or those associated with her having a sexual relationship with a slave. Following the Civil War, murder by lynching of a Black Afro-American was often accompanied by castration, or castration was done as a KKK pastime.
An interesting question is, how was the Confederacy able to raise the armies necessary to pursue the Civil War? The slave holders were a minority and the gap in wealth between those at the top and the large non-slave owning group was very wide. There was, however, the development over time of a group, or tribal, identity by the overall white Southern society, including their illusory feeling of positive self-esteem. The illusory self-esteem by the non-slave holders came out of the societal prejudice against the slave class. This was a part of how they self-identified. The lower Southern societal group also caught the virus of expressing their manhood in a war experience.
Freedom for the slaves meant that all of Southern society would have to re-identify. This is the result after the War. With the loss, slave holders and the non-slave holder group merged to keep the Black population in fear and without knowledge and resources to take advantage of their being physically unshackled.
The prejudice against Black people that had originally raised its head to rationalize slavery now had to be rolled over to adapt itself to help the after war white Southern population to re-identify themselves in the new tribal structure that had come about. Unfortunately, the new identities were built on a platform that had deficiencies similar to the putrid slavery one.
Any human endeavor that exists for the purpose of directly or indirectly harming others is by definition an illusory emotional endeavor devoid of the reality required for the sought after positive self-esteem. It’s like a dog chasing its tail. Even if the tail is caught, the dog loses.
At the onset of conflict, the South thought that it could easily win a military conflict. They thought of themselves as an outdoor, hunting, shooting, gun and horse riding comfortable society. They compared this to the farming, city comfortable, or recent immigrant, non-outdoor society. The South, in the beginning, never foresaw the threat of the total end of their way of life. For the South, armies could be raised on the gung-ho basis of asserting a manhood. The ruling class was comfortable with a state’s rights, rather than a federal government setting parameters for citizens’ rights. This difference in preference exists today. The end of the Civil War brought a total change for both Southern white society and for the Black population. Black Afro-American, now citizens, came out from under hundreds of years of horrific experiences. They or their ancestors had been harvested from their families; they often had differing ethnicities, differing dialects or languages and religious approaches. They were often thrown together without the ability to communicate with each other.
This diversity of peoples was similar to the differences among the American Indian tribes. The slavery processing including the harvesting, the transporting over a strange and dangerous water route, landing in an unknown place with no idea of their surroundings, being stripped naked, being inspected and sold into a life of endless work, beatings, sexual attack and constant fear.
They came through a fiery furnace of non-humanity into what should be defined as a new group, or tribe, or people. Their past ethnicities, religious practices and languages had been torn away from them. This new group, like the birth of a new nation group, differentiated from all of past history in the way it was created.
The Black Afro-American experience had been unlike all of the voluntary immigrating groups to America. The voluntary immigrating groups brought with them their past identities, i.e. customs, religious ideas and ceremonies. Black people were forced to create a new identity. During their slavery period they were limited in doing this. They had no preparation for a change in their status. During slavery they had to focus on survival and taking the few possible tools, i.e. music and their belief in a merciful God, to keep their humanity and a sliver of hope for a better future. If you are someone who does not have ancestors that had the Black slavery experience you cannot feel the reality of the humiliation, shame and lack of humanity of the experience. It is an experience that is only a couple of generations removed. The smell of the Black slave’s blood coming from the stripes made by the whip is fresh in the present generation’s nostrils. As a human being, can you have the empathy necessary to feel the pain of Black Afro-Americans? Close your eyes. Can you see it? Can you feel it?
As already mentioned, but important enough to reiterate, is the unique, heroic Black Afro-American journey that shows their coming into a “technical” freedom after the War with a greater humanity than their oppressors and a religious fervor, mixed with a musical genius that touches the soul. They were not looking for retribution. They were met with a fear that reflected itself in hate.
What they did not have was 1) knowledge of the political system that confronted them; 2) writing and reading skills and 3) accumulated wealth or land ownership. Importantly, they had to develop a system to earn shelter and food. This was a challenge within a society where they had little or no experience in economic commerce. Can you see it? Can you feel it? The wealth of the South had been built on the stolen labor value of Black slaves, but with technical freedom there came no assistance in helping the Black citizens in their areas of knowledge deficiency. Not only was there no assistance for them, there were numerous impediments created against them.
Although control over their living was unlike the slavery restrictions, the impediments placed against them were sufficient in restricting their opportunity to meet their full potential. What could and should have been achieved in one generation continues to be a struggle today. The explicit and implicit Southern white propaganda attacking Black humanity still has an effect today. It is this effect and some degree of tribalism from Northern white people that increases the necessity for a reconciliation process. With the end of the war, the Southern white population was in emotional shock. The formerly wealthy slave holders had used up all of their hard wealth to support the war. They were left with worthless Confederate currency and bonds. They had also lost their below market cost labor force and prior market value of that labor force. There was fear about the attitude of the Black population. There was a total loss of their illusory feeling of a positive esteem. Unfortunately, instead of building a new society based on a reality based positive self-esteem, they continued along a Fear emotional posturing. They replaced the absurdity of slavery with the use of extreme bullying, including murder, and an institutionalized legal system for prejudicing.
Their emotional pain expressed itself in fear, rather than accepting that the past was based on unacceptable human tragedy. They mentally trapped themselves into a past identification of negative characteristics of the Black population. These were characteristics that they had created to justify their treating the Black population as being sub-human. It is this mental and emotional processing that allowed them to blame the Black population for their situation. They did not accept self-responsibility. It also resulted in their other travesties of behavior and their need to glorify the political and military participants of the Confederacy.
Over time, to re-self- identify themselves, the white Southern population ignored the rotten immoral under-core that had been its slavery history and looked only to the illusory icing surface that had represented manners, sophistication and gentility. These are the “values” that became a part of their new self-identity and what was, and has been, portrayed, until recently, nation-wide. They moved their former illusory self-esteem emotional base from slavery to ultra-intensive prejudice. There was a glorification of the prejudice with psychological and physical violence. Southern landowners, to partially overcome their loss of slave labor, offered previous slaves what was called “share cropping.” The Black participants would work a parcel of land and would be allowed housing on the land, seed and minimal equipment. It was a hard life and it often resulted in little or no reward above what they had as a slave. Families would often act in consort to enable at least one family member to go on to higher education. Education was an important area where opportunity was blocked. Reading and writing were barred to the slave population. There is a contradiction in first barring education and then impeding it to a people who were alleged to be incapable of learning. Despite the obstacles, history since the end of the Civil War has been of the Black population at first in small steps, because of the opposition, to eventually making ever increasing strides. Today Black Afro-Americans can be seen today in every avenue of intellectual effort. There have been some programs put in place to help overcome the effect of environmental circumstances that impacted early intellectual awareness. We have learned that environment has an effect on the desire to learn and learning itself. These special programs help to provide equality of opportunity. They are a small recognition of the debt owed for their past undervalued labor, their heroism in surviving with a greater humanity than their oppressors and lastly, for their peaceful path, despite continuing obstacles.
There are some Black youngsters, too many, who have been left behind. Generally, this is the result of environmental deprivations. Any society that does not provide optimum opportunity for all of its members for education and application of that knowledge, does so at its peril. To deprive effective opportunity on an explicit or implicit basis because of a contention of a lack of capability is a presenting of a self-serving argument of circular nonsense. We can never know where our next genius might come from. Genetics has a likely connection to intellect; but neither Einstein’s parents, nor his children, exhibited his intellect. Under the white supremacist doctrine, his life should not have existed.
Participation in the Civil War created quasi-equality among the white Southern population. groupings. Organizations that grew out of the loss of the war, such as the United Daughters Of The Confederacy had a broad membership. There has recently been a great deal of contention about statues representing political and military leaders of the Confederacy. Many of these have been sponsored by the Daughters. The theory has been presented that the purpose was to intimidate Black Afro-Americans. It is respectively submitted that this was only an unanticipated result.
The purpose for the statues was a part of the path chosen by Southern white folks to re-identify through what they viewed as the heroic efforts of Confederacy leadership. Southern society decided, as reflected in the educational materials used in their schools, to minimize the slavery period and emphasize the war to sustain states’ rights. It is characterized as the war of Northern aggression. This approach jumped over the horror of slavery. This approach allowed them to identify themselves with the heroic efforts, real, exaggerated or imagined, of relatives who had participated in the war. Many states made the Confederate war flag a part of their state flag or had a practice of flying the Confederate flag alongside of their state flag. Building an illusory identify through their perception of the heroic nature of the Confederacy leadership had the effect of re-enforcing a prejudicial attitudes toward the Black population. At the same time, it failed to give them the reality of control over their own living and the benefits of such a reality. Fear of physical retaliation by the Black population, when viewed through a white supremacist’s Fear emotional posture vision lens, was a possibility. It is also to be expected that people who lived in the fear represented by feelings of inferiority would project their attitudes and feelings onto others. It was known that in the early 1800s the Haitian slave population did physically revolt to gain their freedom. However, the American Black population had made Jesus’ teachings a reality in their souls. They came out of the Civil War without hate of their oppressors. The Black population wanted to move forward, to learn, to participate. The white Southern fear emotional posture expressed itself in thousands of murders by lynching. These hateful fear based acts were often advertised and attended by hundreds, if not thousands, including children held high on an adult’s shoulders. Close your eyes. Can you see it? Can you feel it?
White groups murdered, without cause, entire populations of Black people in Florida and in one instance in Oklahoma in the early 1920s. Black people had been given rights only in theory. Although, the propaganda says that white people should fear Black people, historically the reverse has been true. The reality is that they approached having the equal opportunity they were entitled to, as exemplified by Dr. King and those associated with his civil rights efforts, as a peaceful course of action. The purpose of physical violence against the Black population, including the activities of the kkk, was to intimidate them from being involved in the political process and from questioning any area of the segregation instituted against them. It also provided an emotional outlet not unlike the gang and terrorist activities of today. Physical intimidation had an effect. Some Black people migrated north leaving behind any property they had accumulated and taking skills with them. There was also an impact on political participation. It took the civil rights activities of the 1950s and 60s, culminating in the Civil Rights and Voting rights laws for Black voters to start to participate in ever larger numbers. Today the more conservative Supreme Court is helping states, both North and South, to implement laws requiring tightening identification and clearance of voter records. These laws have a greater practical effect on Black voters than other groups. However, with ever greater awareness among the Black population of the political system, they will adjust and overcome.
With the end of the Civil War, “slavery” ended. However, bullying through law is shown in what are called the “Jim Crow” laws. Jim Crow was a a caricature portrayed by a white performer. The character portrayed was of a “clumsy, dimwitted” black slave. It became a derogatory term of reference of Black people. The purpose of the laws was to treat Black human beings as being non-human. It was the status they had occupied in the white Southern mind before the War. One purpose of the Jim Crow laws was to bar fraternization between white and Black men and women- no sex, no marriage, no kissing. In effect, they were saying that Black people were not worthy of consideration for these relationships. As a practical matter, this effort did not stop white men from having sex with Black women, including raping them. The laws concerning white and Black fraternization were in effect until a 1967 Supreme Court of the United States decision (Loving vs Virginia), over a hundred years after the end of the Civil War. When viewed through the prism of having control over their own living, the proponents of such laws had the illusory perception of a prejudicial superiority. At the same time Black people were being told to accept their sub-human status. It was a continuation of attacks on Black self-esteem. Jim Crow laws barred integrated schools, housing, public drinking fountains, public toilets, seating on public transportation, seating in public eating places or barring service totally and barring hotel availability. The importance of who is chosen to be a United States Supreme Court Justice is apparent in a 1890s decision, Plessey vs Ferguson, where the Court decided that segregation was acceptable under the United States Constitution, as amended. (This happened to be on a railroad car in the North).
Thus, the reality of the legality of Jim Crow was institutionalized. Even in the dissent by Justice Harlan, there was no thought of social injustice. It took over half a century, when under the same Constitution, as amended, that the Court, in Brown vs Board of Education of Topeka, found that segregation was not acceptable. As a practical matter, there is a great deal of segregation in both education and housing today. In the 1900s, increased industrialization of the North, especially with production of automobiles, drew more and more Black citizens from the South to migrate to the North. Generally, they were the last to be hired and the first to be fired. Despite the foregoing, they found relief from Jim Crow and the Southern physical threats. They experienced an increased income opportunity. As Black Afro-Americans moved north, their increasing numbers created fear in the white Northern population. The Southern propaganda characterization of an undesirable people had preceded their migration. This happened through entertainment and other venues. The characterization problem was heightened by the idea of social and job competition and the obvious spread of “racial” bias. A Black person’s identity is obvious when they enter the room. The illusory nature of white superiority was present. It is an application of an illusory basis for positive self-esteem. Housing, and with it, education segregation came about.
The Northern segregated environment was exacerbated by many real estate brokers. The brokers created cycles of sale and resale of residential property, based on the idea of a negative impact on values by Black ownership. The real estate industry profited from a sale by the white person, a sale of the property to a Black person, a sale of a property to the selling white person and from the sale of a property to the buying by the displaced white person. Round and round the circular prejudice continued. It was also a benefit to the white controlled financial industry. Financing was necessary for each of the transactions. It was not unusual for the Black buyer to pay the higher interest rate for their financing. Segregated home communities were the result. With segregated home communities, there came segregated schools. The authors herein, as children of first and second generation parents, we admit to complicity, at least implicitly, in prejudice against our Black Afro-American fellow citizens. We reasonably assume from others we know, who are similarly situated to us, that we are not alone. There was always the question of why a people who had been here much longer had not become what would be considered a more successful group? Just as important, was the question of why so many were left behind in the inner-city ghettos? The answer is, as it has been for women in general, including white women of Northern European genetics, a lack of effective opportunity.
As a part of the effort to have children learn to make self-actualized choices (see Walking Out of the Caves.org), we learned about Black children living in segregated neighborhoods whose vision of their future, how they looked at themselves, was limited to imprisonment or death at an early age. If they were to be killed, their vision was that it be by a known gang member. The importance of who killed them was that if the shooter was well placed, they would have a funeral that included large numbers of flowers and shirts with an imprint of their picture.
What kind of society is responsible for children who have such a poor self-image? These youngsters are entitled to opportunity. Our unique Black-Afro-American citizens, our brothers and sisters in humanity, deserve not only opportunity under law; but also for social equality. They are deserving of recognition for their unique human journey, the heroism and humanity it required, their perseverance and patience and the peaceful nature of their journey. For those who do not believe that they have been complicit in some way for prejudice of Black Aero-Americans, please sign so as to indicate your concurrence that our human tribal vision be widened to include all of humanity. Help to wipe away Jesus’ tears.
The Physician The Educator The Redeeming Sinner
EMPATHY IS THE HALLMARK OF POSITIVE SELF-FEELING
*This information is not to be used for any commercial purpose. It is to only show agreement with essay objective for reconciliation.