Sunday, March 22, 2015

Police Brutality, Racial Indoctrination and Racial Profilng

All of us know that police brutality is a universal phenomenon. Whether it’s South Africa, Australia, Brazil, Canada, USA, South Sudan, Kenya; police brutality is a known fact.
However, police brutality in the United States of America, Brazil (and sometimes Canada) has a twisted racio-historical paradigm that makes it unsettlingly pernicious with it racial profiling and preconceived badness of outgroup races.

Young African-American men that are routinely killed by police fall within a theoretical psycho-social, ethno-economic space created for them by centuries of racial degradation. European-American police officers are themselves victims of their upbringing. They are mentally tortured souls through years of home race schooling. With brutal efficiency, they are fed with the pernicious falsehood that African-American young men are violent ‘good-for-nothing’ animals. This is a reality no one should explain to African-Americans because they know it better. Ironically, racists are deadly people who need help to see the inevitable and irreversible social and historical changes.
America is a racially confused and lost nation imprisoned by its own creation.
As a South Sudanese, I have my own share of racial degradation; however; the paradigms though not the same, are not that markedly different. South Sudanese were subjected to centuries of slave raids by Arab merchants; and South Sudanese we treated like second class citizens in their own country because of their religio-racial realities.  Villages were razed to the ground, millions of women and children either killed or displaced from their homes…all in the name of racial and religious inferiority.

The saddest thing about the problem in the United States is the manner in which young men try to defy people who have a robotic perception of them. European-American police officers with years of false indoctrination have little sympathy for people they see as menace to society. And their perceptive falsehood should be seen as the tip of the iceberg in what Margaret Cannon calls an ‘invisible empire.’
It’s very crucial for parents, community leaders and activists, city councillors, legislators, church leaders and other stakeholders, to teach kids that resisting police is not a show of manhood or virility but a suicide mission. Submission to police is not weakness but a cognitive necessity to have one live another day to learn and contribute towards changing the police and European-American mindset.

Some of these police officers have been brought up to think in a prejudicial manner and to get rid of their mindset, if they are really ready to let it go, would take years of unlearning.
America is theoretically desegregated but practically it’s not. And this segregation is both historically racial and contemporarily economical. American is a psychological prison as a function of race.

While police academies are taking cultural and racial sensitivities into consideration, it’s crucial to embark on preventative programs of education and simple instructions on how to handle police and their brutality. There are of course bigoted European-American police officers who’d kill African-Americans and lie about it; however, there are some whose perception of African-Americans is a naïve function of their upbringing and they need a lot of help to unlearn such fatal and hateful falsehood.
While this might appear like blaming the victims, it’s a pragmatic message to the living to avoid racial onslaught of the bigoted European-American police.

Let our kids live another day!

Monday, March 16, 2015

‘Black’ as an Identity Oversimplification and Mockery

Black as a universalized cultural identity of the African Person (AP)* is a residual effect of slave and colonial mentality; a racial/race paradigm. It is a malady I call, conservatively speaking, stuck-in-the-past syndrome of color constraints. Black could be an on-the-street ‘social identifier’ of race figures not a meaningful phenomenon of deep cultural identification on a universal scale.

Having read Race and Racism related writings of imminent scholars like Lewis Gordon, Henry Gates, Paul Gilroy, Cornell West…among others; I’ve come to realize two conflicting virtues the Euro-world imposes on the AP as a function of historical, institutional powerlessness. However, this conflict isn’t in the classical Race double consciousness DuBois (1903/1965) diagnosed at the beginning of the 20th century.  Instead, it is the need to be recognized and valued by European scholars on one hand, and the emotional, racial requirement to promote what it means to be an AP in a global sense on the other (Haley 1993).

While they’ve attempted to write on Race and Racism in an attempt to give voice to the AP, they still do so within the same European lenses they are presumably trying to inform. It’s nearly impossible to both defy and ask for respect within the same institutional establishment you are trying to correctively inform about previously suppressed or neglected realities. It’s a dilemma between a universalized opinion that would open many people’s eyes, and the prudent requirement to just do a little to fit in and earn oneself a living. It’s tough existential transcendence.
To settle for what Europeans called you [Black] and still claim to be correcting European's caricaturing of the African Person is an oxymoron. I find it not only hard to understand how able scholars like the ones I’ve named above don’t see it that reducing a whole humanity of people with values and cultures into a single color is not only reminiscent of the past distorted view of the African Person; I also find it unreasonable why they don’t see that embracing the status quo of blackness as an identity is to bless the external social and racialized determinism. It’s being determined ‘from without’ as Franz Fanon (2008) would say.

Colonialism, Slavery, Jim Crow, Segregation, Apartheid, and other past Euro-ills (sociopolitical and socioeconomic) put the AP down with unbridle immorality (Fredrickson 2002). However, contemporary realities have afforded the AP an avenue to correct the ridiculous. Nonetheless, we’ve settled for what Europe wanted us to be: black metaphorically and black in social valuation.
Black shouldn’t be used to generalize cultural identities of a valued humanity. It could still, however, remain as a social identifier when strict identification convenience calls for it. Its contemporary usage is a residue of past denigration of the AP and the contemporary intellectual laziness.

It’s easy to see Mr. X and call him a ‘black man.’ However, it becomes questionable why one needs to address Mr. X as such when he’s from Nigerian and his tribe is Igbo. Mr. X is an Igbo man from Nigeria. Being Igbo and Being Nigerian are both respectful terms when it comes to Mr. X’s identity. However, respecting one’s identity is only important to the subject in question, that’s Mr. X. It’s not important to someone who doesn’t share identity relevance with Mr. X.
A European has little or nothing to gain by respecting Mr. X’s cultural identity. He could call Mr. X anything as long as he gets away with it. And whether or not he refers to Mr. X in terms that are respectful depends on his universal perception of Mr. X.

It’s therefore left to Mr. X to tell people his respectful identity. Being Nigerian and Igbo shouldn’t be reduced to a denigrating color. Reducing people’s identities to a mere color is both disrespectful and, also, an identity oversimplification. And even worse, it is something reminiscent of slavery and colonialism; a time at which the European was the only authority: moral, political and economic.
There are African Americans peoples who decry being called Africans or African America, and that they prefer being called ‘black.’ That’s oxymoronic because the only reason they are called black is their connection with Africa. They are not called ‘black’ because of their Americanness or their Europeanness; it’s because of their Africanness, which Europeans and the defeatist attitude of the AP, equate with ‘blackness.’