Tag Archives | Racism

How the legacy of slavery affects the mental health of black Americans today

The trauma of slavery.  National Archives and Records

The trauma of slavery. National Archives and Records

On July 22, in announcing the federal indictment of Charleston killer Dylann Roof, Attorney General Loretta Lynch commented that the expression of forgiveness offered by the victims’ families is “an incredible lesson and message for us all.”

Forgiveness and grace are, indeed, hallmarks of the Black Church.

Since slavery, the church has been a formidable force for the survival of blacks in an America still grappling with the residual effects of white supremacy.

This was eloquently illustrated in the aftermath of the Charleston church massacre. Americans rightly stood in awe of the bereaved families’ laudable demonstration of God’s grace in action.

But what about the psychic toll that these acts of forgiveness exact?

Events like Charleston put a spotlight on the growing body of literature that looks not only at the United States’ failure to have authentic conversations about slavery and its legacy but also at the mental health impact of forgiving acts of white racism and repressing justifiable feelings of anger and outrage – whether these are horrific acts of terrorism or nuanced microaggressions.Read the rest

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The Magical Thinking at the Core of the Confederate Flag Hysteria

Kurz & Allison

Historical prints depicting Civil War battles are among the  merchandise currently being removed by Amazon.

That’s right, I’m calling it hysteria — this zealous, self-congratulatory crusade to abolish all representations of the Confederate battle flag, from the Dukes of Hazzard reruns nixed by TV Land, to the books and historical artwork currently being removed from the Amazon catalog. The mass killing in Charleston has reaffirmed the Stars and Bars as an icon of militant white supremacy, and now society is taking a stand:

No longer will we tolerate that which reminds us of the divisions in our society. Our ongoing history of institutional racism will no longer be quite as apparent in department store inventory as it once was. We will browse eBay for iPhone cases without fear of being reminded of just how much racial bigotry is still entrenched in our culture.

We will lead a purely symbolic charge against violence and racism, even if it means empowering the very symbol that we seek to abolish.… Read the rest

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Aleister Crowley, the Racist

crowleymemeAhhh, Crowley. Of course I’ve covered why I’m not a huge fan of the guy fairly extensively. It’s funny, the reason I wrote that piece with a certain degree of vitriol had to do with the precise sense of getting duped when I realized Christianity was nonsensical as a teenager. After I was summoned into the Occult (long story that you can read about in my book super cheap), I had a glamorized hippie version of “The Great Beast” (suuuuuch a stupid nickname) and went around defending him in certain circles. I blame people like Timothy Leary and Robert Anton Wilson for this naivete (I still have zero idea how they were both so clueless about his lame ass exploits) but the more I dug into the reality of the guy, not the hippie myth, the more I was like: Wait a minute, I fucking HATE Aleister Crowley. Let’s review: Egomaniacal borderline sociopath?… Read the rest

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The Blood on Our Hands: An Analysis of Mass Murder

Blood on hands

The synchronicity was disturbing. My research for an upcoming article had me immersed in hate crime statistics, when a friend from South Carolina told me the news. A 21-year-old Southern white male had just opened fire on a prayer group at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, SC. This story hit something deep that data points and bar graphs cannot reach.

The Charleston shooting shook my South Carolinian friend to his core. Nine black Christians had welcomed an angry white kid into their prayer circle, and he gunned them down on a mission to “protect the White race.” My guts stirred with a sick feeling of recognition. It was as if the shooting had been a dreaded inevitability. Or was it that we’ve been here before?

If you think Dylann Storm Roof fits the typical hate crime profile, you are only half-correct.

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Charleston and the Age of Obama

There’s so much to say about the Charleston atrocity and no shortage of commentary throughout the media. One of the most perceptive analyses we’ve found is from David Remnick, editor of the New Yorker:

Between 1882 and 1968, the year Martin Luther King, Jr., was assassinated, three thousand four hundred and forty-six black men, women, and children were lynched in this country—a practice so vicious and frequent that Mark Twain was moved, in 1901, to write an essay called “The United States of Lyncherdom.” (Twain shelved the essay and plans for a full-length book on lynching because, he told his publisher, if he went forward, “I shouldn’t have even half a friend left down [South].”) These thousands of murders, as studied by the Tuskegee Institute and others, were a means of enforcing white supremacy in the political and economic marketplaces; they served to terrorize black men who might dare to sleep, or even talk, with white women, and to silence black children, like Emmett Till, who were deemed “insolent.”

Dylann Roof's Facebook photo with jacket showing  the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa

Dylann Roof’s Facebook photo with jacket showing the flags of Rhodesia and apartheid South Africa

 

But the words attributed to the shooter are both a throwback and thoroughly contemporary: one recognizes the rhetoric of extreme reaction and racism heard so often in the era of Barack Obama.

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How to Not Be Racist

zeevveez (CC BY 2.0)

zeevveez (CC BY 2.0)

Agustín Fuentes Ph.D. writes at Psychology Today:

I am occasionally racist— and so is most everyone in the USA.  [Notice he didn’t specify white people. — G.G.]  Even if we don’t think we are. Race is all around us, often in ways we often don’t realize. We can be less racist, and even move away from racism, but it takes a bit of work and some courage.

Race, and racism, is part of our environment, history, language, psychology, and politics. For example, what do we picture when we hear the term “ethnic food”? It is not hot dogs or hamburgers, but why not? Why is there an “ethnic hair products” aisle in the drugstore? Why aren’t those products just in the “hair care” aisle? And what the heck is “ethnic”? Don’t most people just use it as shorthand for race?  Yes they do, but no store is going to use the labels “foods from non-white groups” or a “products for black people’s hair” for those aisles.  

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Racism and Sexism Viewed as Aristotelian Virtues

Aristotle

CAVEAT EMPTOR.

Colin Liddell writes at Alternative Right:

For Aristotle there were always two vices for every virtue. This was because of his belief in the “Golden Mean.” For example, the virtue Courage existed between a vice of deficiency (Cowardice) and a vice of excess (Rashness).

To emphasize the metapoint: Aristotle saw all vices as existing on a continuum with all virtues, with no wall between them. This is very different from the Manichean morality that later poisoned the West through Judaic theology. What happens, however, if we apply this Aristotelian analysis to the major “vices” of the modern day, namely “Racism” and “Sexism”?

Of course the liberal left, with its agenda of deconstructing all elements of identity above the atomistic individual, seeks to impose its totalitarian will through a variation on this Judaic Manichaeism called “political correctness.” The sins of “Racism” and “Sexism” are accordingly seen as evil essence that must be expunged from society and all intellectual discourse through a no-platform, knee-jerk, quarantine, point-and-sputter approach.

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Chicago Police Put Antlers on Black Man and Posed for Pictures

coppic1-article-display-b

Juan Thompson writes at the Intercept:

The photo shows two white Chicago Police officers posing with an unidentified black man [above]. The officers — Timothy McDermott and Jerome Finnigan — are holding rifles as the black man lies on the floor with a dazed look on his face and with antlers on his head as if he were a prized, big buck finally hunted down.

Finnegan is smiling and grabbing the right antler, while McDermott is holding up the man’s head as if it were his trophy.

The photo was taken in a police station on the West Side of Chicago sometime between 1999 and 2003. The Chicago Police Department successfully kept it hidden from the public until a judge refused to keep it under seal and the Chicago Sun-Times pulled a copy from a court filing. 

Finnigan is a notoriously dirty ex-cop who was a member of the police department’s elite Special Operations Section (SOS) until 2006, when he was charged with leading a gang of fellow officers who robbed suspects, illegally invaded homes and stole thousands of dollars in cash.

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Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers


Emory Douglas: The Art of The Black Panthers from Dress Code on Vimeo.

Emory Douglas was the Revolutionary Artist and Minister of Culture for the Black Panther Party. Through archival footage and conversations with Emory we share his story, alongside the rise and fall of the Panthers. He used his art as a weapon in the Black Panther Party’s struggle for civil rights and today Emory continues to give a voice to the voiceless. His art and what The Panthers fought for are still as relevant as ever.

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Mother Publicly Beats Her Son, Mainstream Media Calls Her a “Hero”

Stacey Patton, writing at the Washington Post:

It’s not surprising that a black mother in Baltimore who chased down, cursed and beat her 16-year-old son in the middle of a riot has been called a hero. In this country, when black mothers fulfill stereotypes of mammies, angry and thwarting resistance to a system designed to kill their children, they get praised.

“He gave me eye contact,” Toya Graham told CBS News. “And at that point, you know, not even thinking about cameras or anything like that — that’s my only son and at the end of the day, I don’t want him to be a Freddie Gray. Is he the perfect boy? No he’s not, but he’s mine.”

In other words, Graham’s message to America is: I will teach my black son not to resist white supremacy so he can live.

The kind of violent discipline Graham unleashed on her son did not originate with her, or with my adoptive mother who publicly beat me when I was a child, or with the legions of black parents who equate pain with protection and love.

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