Wednesday, February 17, 2010

The new white folk – us

In 1954, 0n may 17 The United States Supreme Court announced its unanimous decision regarding the historic Oliver Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas case. The case specifically targeted the doctrine of “separate but equal”. Thurgood marshall used social science to note the negative impact on the mental and psychological well being of African American students as well as the noted inferiority of the schools that African Americans were forced to attend. His purview was that such school segregation violated the Equal Protection and Due Process clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment. One significant point of evidence was evinced by Dr Kenneth Clark and his wife. Called the doll test, Dr. Clark showed how segregation impacts African American children. In his words:

"I presented these dolls to them and I asked them the following questions in the following order: "Show me the doll that you like best or that you'd like to play with," "Show me the doll that is the 'nice' doll," "Show me the doll that looks 'bad'," and then the following questions also: "Give me the doll that looks like a white child," "Give me the doll that looks like a colored child," "Give me the doll that looks like a Negro child," and "Give me the doll that looks like you." By Mr. Carter: Q. "Like you?" A. "Like you."

His results showed “that of the children between the ages of six and nine whom I tested, which were a total of sixteen in number, that ten of those children chose the white doll as their preference; the doll which they liked best. Ten of them also considered the white doll a "Nice" doll. And, I think you have to keep in mind that these two dolls are absolutely identical in every respect except skin color. Eleven of these sixteen children chose the brown doll as the doll which looked "bad." This is consistent with previous results which we have obtained testing over three hundred children, and we interpret it to mean that the Negro child accepts as early as six, seven or eight the negative stereotypes about his own group." This was a while back, a time before many of us were born, however there is a similar behavior however it is self directed.

It used to be that the forces of racism were the main culprits of the problems that many African American Currently, there are many trends in behavior that denote some of us are regressing. One such trend is young men calling themselves goons and thugs and gangsters and women calling them Barbie – a white doll. Now some have considered my presentation of such as petty, non-sensorial and even as bull shit. However I disagree. True it may be younger folk doing such but that does not abrogate my responsibility to point out what I perceive needs to be discussed.

It is as if one should not attended to unemployment just because they have a job; or not be concerned about high dropout rates among African American males because their son is graduating and going to college. I suggest that we have lost our way and that our behavior from self –hate, to being self absorbed and materialistic is akin to the manner in which white folks treated use decades past. They were the one that made us feel less than equal; they were the ones who used violence on us; they were the ones that made laws that made it a crime punishable by death to learn to read; they were the ones who considered black as vile and ugly. Not any more for today it is us. We make ourselves feel less if we don’t have certain material to define us; we sing about beating killing and shooting our own kind in popular music as if it is acceptable behavior and even parade it on television via videos and on the radio as if it proffers a benefit to our community; we no longer read and if we do in many cases it is about gossip and/or celebrity and now we proclaim ourselves to be representatives of white beauty, at least some of us with the use of fake hair and proclamations of the aforementioned. Why not Kendra, I mean the black doll has a name – or is it that even today – we associate with the white doll over the black one?

Even today what Dr. Clark noted still occurs. Now I don’t care nor am I trying to ruffle any feathers, however I will not separate myself from acknowledging or trying to openly discuss things that may be detriments to our community. It is sad that folks get defensive and prefer to attack the messenger than accept and think about problem solving. If we should have learned anything from Martin Luther King Jr., it should be tolerance of the opinions of others. He encouraged open discussion and the promulgation of thought as opposed to self-destruction when he wrote "A nation or civilization that continues to produce soft-minded men purchases its own spiritual death on the installment plan” and “An individual has not started living until he can rise above the narrow confines of his individualistic concerns to the broader concerns of all humanity." 459 years latter and we still got major problems folk and we too weak to accept, point out or even acknowledge them. And as such, we may as well put on them white robes for how are we any different from the KKK?

18 comments:

RiPPa said...

Goddamn this was powerful, folk. Ain't to much more that can be said.

dc_speaks said...

u r dropping mad knowledge, T. I loved this post. as always, u delivered.

neshia said...

you always tell truth and folks run keep the knowledge going torrance lol

Noel said...

Great post. Brings into clear relief the scary similarities between the victories of the civil rights movement and how those gains are being abused, ignored or even disparaged by current generations. Perhaps in the euphoria of new found liberties we lost sight of the bonds that strenghened us in overt oppression.
I don't know if you feel it, or maybe i'm just optimistic, but i honestly believe that Blacks are slowly reevaluating many of the social behaviours that have turned inward on our culture and harmed it. I can only hope that more people can/will see it as clearly as you've stated it.

Rock said...

Nice post.. Thanks for share...

Caspar608 said...

phenomenal post.

ingridspeak said...

It's been a while since I rolled through. Life happens, but best believe this post epitomizes the reason you are still on my blog roll as one of my favorite writers. Thanks for the food for thought.

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Brown English Muffin said...

Oh this cuts deep for me...my three year old is constantly saying that she doesn't want to be brown anymore she wants to be "grey".

It hurts as I want her to be around a mixed group of people and learn to love herself no matter what.

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