23 May 2015

Black Self/Group-Hatred and the Myriad Ways It's Manifested

 I must say that this topic has followed me like a deadly cold/flu virus over the decades.  When the immune system is weakened, you wake up with that nagging cough, nasal drainage/stuffiness with aches and pains based on the severity of the symptoms. It's part of living on this planet, yet when it runs its course...there is relief. The specter of this virus lurks in the background, though you know there will eventually be another bout. Of course you'll  do all you can to prevent or delay it but many times it prevails.

  As one with Pan-African leanings since the late 60's, it seems appropriate to compare black self-hatred to a physical and spiritual malady. It's exhausting, painful, recurrent, and depending on the severity it can lead to death.  A death of the spirit and body.  Suicidal and homicidal behaviors come to mind as well as the many dysfunctional mannerisms that lend to the objectification of a group of people and rationales for oppressing them.  Ferguson, Cleveland, South Carolina and numerous unnecessary deaths of unarmed black women and men by the police and the sanctioning of it by some blacks in powerful positions comes to mind. In the case of Baltimore, the State Attorney, Marilyn Mosby is the exception and a sheroe.  Mud-slinging and falsified deterrents are in her future as she remains resolute in getting justice for the death of Freddie Gray by police officers.

While viewing the House Judiciary Committee on police misconduct/violence and the debate between Congressman Hakeem Jeffries and the controversial black Sheriff David Clarke; the  insidious virus of self-loathing became painfully clear.  David Clarke condoned violent police intervention in relation to the Eric Garner case citing that it is the high crime rate of the black underclass that fuels these encounters which he found justifiable. Some would argue that when you isolate a group of people where there  is poverty, hopelessness and a  lack of educational opportunities, this too may lend to self and group hate.  However, we are addressing those who are paid to protect citizens and not militaristic occupiers who harass, brutalize and kill citizens with impunity in these communities. This protector of the 'blue wall of silence' went so far as to challenge the findings of the medical examiner and declare that Mr. Garner died of a heart attack. Of course, the public knows that it was ruled a homicide and that we could believe our "lying eyes" when this event was captured on a video by a spectator. 

Congressman Jeffries challenged him on the need for police reform and presented some pertinent observations on the use of deadly force. The sheriff could not defend himself on some of the points made.  I witnessed at that point, the symbolic death of his spirit and the emergence of a delirium which reduced his ability to see Mr. Garner and others like him as human beings. He actually refuses to see  himself.  There is a quote by W.E.B. Dubois which states:
There are still a few of us who are running away to avoid each other with the vague feeling that we shall thus lose ourselves in the world and become free.
This phenomena of black self and group hatred throughout history on a domestic and global level persists.  However, we are now in the 21st century and while many of us refuse to accept the perception of others in how we view ourselves; the practice of white supremacy has taken on an air of sophistication. Camouflaged by stigmatizing identity politics or promoting the more well known 'post racial' meme.  It co-opts folks who look like us and rewards them with powerful positions to carry out its agendas. This is a daunting and formidable challenge. It permeates all systems of society.

 I've provided two links to articles that must be shared for they are riveting, heartbreaking and enlightening. One is an article written by Orville Douglas, a black man who resides in Toronto, Canada.  He addresses why he hates being a black man.  Charles Cole III, an educator, wrote a compassionate and self-empowering  article as an open letter to Orville Douglas and those who share his sentiments. Must reads.         


 Why I Hate Being A Black Man
Let's Really Converse About Black Self-Hatred
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