Wednesday, 30 April 2008

He Lost His Only Daughter to Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECA)

Cross-posted at Pam's House Blend.

What is color-aroused emotion, ideation and behavior and how can you tell whether it is benign, mild, moderate or severe? The following story, recounted to me this morning here in Bahia, Brazil, illustrates both what the illness is and how to determine its level of severity with specificity.

I have a friend named Bruna, a white-skinned Brazilian woman who is recounting the following story, about a close friend of hers, and I am translating and typing it up now, as she speaks. Bruna says,

I have a friend named "Monica" whose skin is very white, and she has long blond hair and green eyes. She and I prepared for the college entrance exams together, and her case stands out as the most drastic case of color-aroused hatred that I have ever witnessed:

Monica's mother and father were divorced and Monica lived with her father. She was an only child. When Monica was in high school, she was secretly in love with a classmate, "João", who was also in love with her. However, Monica's father was very color-aroused. Monica's father constantly told Monica, "Never date a Black! Never fall in love with a Black!" Her father was stern and severe.

Little did he know that his daughter already was secretly in love with a Black. In the private school they attended, Monica looked secretly toward João, and he glanced back surreptitiously at her. Whenever João was not in class, Monica copied and passed her notes to João, as well as informing him of the homework that was assigned. João asked Monica to go out with him and she was dying of desire to do so.

francislholland :: He Lost His Only Daughter to Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECA)

Bruna continues,

But, Monica's father was also their high school Portuguese teacher, in Brazil, where schools are small and all of the teachers are present all of the time. And so Monica had to scrupulously hide from her father her passion and love for João, even as it became more intense within her. She never declared her love to João, nor him to her, but they shared the knowing glances and secret communion that were the only expressions of their love that were allowed to them, because of Monica's skin color, her father's skin color, and the skin color of João.

They both were middle class, lived on the same street, but never walked to school together, lest their father discover their secret love. Monica found João's telephone number and they conversed endlessly by telephone when Monica's father was not at home. But could not walk together, hold hands, kiss, study together or in any way violate Monica's father's strict law that Monica "must never date a Black."

When Monica and João "coincidentally" entered the same university in their town in which they lives, he studying law and she psychology, they continued their high school friendship, but now with increased freedom. They went to a college initiation party together and Jõão tried to get with Monica there, but Monica fled his embrace. At the next party, however, when Monica saw that João was about to "get with" another girl, Monica made perhaps the most fateful decision of her life. She gathered her courage, called João to chat and declared her love for him, as well as the family circumstances that had prevented her from loving João for three long years. But she was crazy in love.

They began to date secretly, for a more than a year, still calling each others' houses and conversing for hours, going out to movies, studying together . . . and making love.

Then someone told Monica's father about the relationship between her daughter and a Black man, João. He demanded and explanation and she confessed her love for João. Monica's father swore at Monica, told João never to see his daughter again.

Monica's father cursed her violently. For a week, Monica obeyed her father, not speaking with João at all, while the fights between her and her father became more and more intense. Finally, unable to reason with her father and make her understand and accept her love for João, Monica called a friend who had an apartment and she requested to live there, rather than with her father. Monica's father's hate for Black people had caused him to lose his only daughter, and he now lived in his house alone, without seeing or speaking with his only daugher.

For the first time in their three-year relationship, João and Monica had the freedom no longer to hide their bi-chromatic relationship, but to live their love and their lives normally, in the open.

Monica tried to build a new relationship with her father, based on his acceptance of her life decision, but he could not accept it and he could no longer love and accept her. In fact he rejected her and behaved as if she has never existed.

Monica and Joaõ continued dating for another year and a half, until they both graduated from university, he with a degree in law and she in psychology. When João asked Monica for her hand in marriage, Monica accepted immediately. Monica's father refused to attend their wedding, which was celebrated in the same city in which they all lived. His hatred and repulsion for Blacks was stronger than his love for his daughter.

Over the next half-dozed years or so, João and Monica had beautiful brown children, two boys and one girl (who is a child model now). Then Monica's father contracted a serious and chronic illness that left him disabled, bedridden and unable to care for himself. Monica went to his side, began to care for him in his illness, and even her husband João went to visit Monica's father, although their time there was strained. Even with Monica's father alternating between cursing João and giving him the "silent treatment," João cared for Monica's father in his illness.

Although Monica's father never really has accepted his son-in-law, still João has reached out to him emotionally, discussing soccer and news events, but without ever directly discussing the circumstances that compelled Monica to leave her father so many years ago. Monica's father has never apologized for his behavior of years, but he has significantly changed his behavior in the present, which is ultimately far more important.

Eventually, when Monica's father asked to see his grandchildren, and they called him "grand-daddy," showing him their toys and chatting with him in his dark and solitary home, the old man was unable to deny the love to his own grandchildren that he had so long forbidden to his daughter and his son-in-law, because of their bi-chromatic love.

João is now a very wealthy lawyer, corporate counsel for a large international firm, and Monica has her own private psychology practice. Together they are able to provide Monica's father the medical and home care that he needs.


Only a psychiatrist, after careful and competent evaluation, can diagnose Extreme Color Aroused Disorder (ECA). However, laymen can form laymen's informed yet informal opinions, if they read the literature and are open to carefully considering symptoms, duration, specific facts, and applying them to the ECA diagnostic criteria.

One clear indication that Color-Aroused Disorder is "extreme" is when color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior prevent, disrupt or results in the termination of relationships with family members, friends, business contacts, caregivers, or other significant persons. According to the US Government Social Security Administration, an illness that markedly impairs the formation and/or maintenance of relationships is an extreme illness.

Since Monica's father's color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, over a significant period of time, did exceed the criteria by causing a serious and long-term disruption of his family relationship with his only daughter, this clearly rose to the level of a "marked impairment".

Another symptom of ECA is when the ECA- symptomatic behavior impairs parenting skills. Clearly, the nature and quality of Monica's father's parenting was severely affected by his color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, because he preferred to actually terminate his parental role rather than accept his daughter's considered and firm choice to engage in a loving and otherwise appropriate bi-chromatic relationship.

Yet another of ECA is when the patient tries or has tried to enforce separation of others or from others based on their skin color. Repeatedly warning against engaging with others based only on the color of their skin shows an obsessiveness symptomatic of ECA, particularly when the patient feels compelled to persist in these color-aroused admonitions in spite of damage done to his/her significant relationships.

Marked skin-color-aroused stress and discomfort associated with being near or thinking about one's own color and/or the color of others are also symptoms of Extreme Color Aroused Disorder, particularly if this stress and discomfort leads to impairment in one or more significant relationships or areas of life functioning.

Since Brazil is a intensely polychromatic society, it is reasonable to wonder whether Monica's father's color-associated ideation, emotion and behavior would have caused him stress in his job as a teacher of polychromatic high school students and in other social and professional relationships.

Although I am not a psychiatrist, have not interviewed Monica's father, and am not competent to make an ECA diagnosis, I nonetheless believe, based on what I have heard, that Monica's father would have been well-served to seek screening, diagnosis and treatment for ECA before his color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior caused him to lose his relationship with his only daughter, miss her wedding, as well as the birth and infancy of his only grandchildren.

It is important to understand and remember, however, that not all color-aroused disorder is "extreme" or "severe". Sometimes, color-aroused emotion, ideation and behavior are benign, mild, moderate in terms of their ability to impair the individual, his emotional and physical health, and his relationships. Those who refuse to take the time and effort to learn about this disorder should not assume that all color-aroused symptoms are extreme, and then throw "ECA" around like an epithet, as so often happens with the words "racist" and "racism".

The author is the editor of the American Journal of Color Arousal (AMJCA) and the Truth About McCain Blog.

Is Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECA) a psychiatric illness?
* It clearly can be, if it's extreme. - 1 votes (100%)
* Yes, it is. - 0 votes (0%)
* It certainly is, if it leads to the loss of family - 0 votes (0%)
* Maybe it is. I don't know. - 0 votes (0%)
* I've never really though about it. - 0 votes (0%)
* I don't think it is. - 0 votes (0%)
* I really don't think it is. - 0 votes (0%)
* No, it's not. - 0 votes (0%)
* No, it clearly is not. - 0 votes (0%)
* No, it's just a matter of personal taste. - 0 votes (0%)
Total votes: 1

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Was the Black NYPD officer who shot Sean Bell color-aroused?

In the Sean Bell case in New York, the police couldn't get an all-white jury in New York City, so instead they got an all-white judge. Brilliant!

Not for nothing has the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association forsworn jury trials for cops indicted in the Bronx. Two decades ago when Officer Stephen Sullivan went on trial for fatally shooting Eleanor Bumpers, a black grandmother, he did not appear before a jury. [In the Bronx juries are predominantly black and Hispanic.] Instead, he was tried before a specially selected white judge, who acquitted him. NYPDConfidential

But, this case demonstrates something else much more subtle and useful that I've been saying about color-aroused behavior. One of the police officers who killed Sean Bell was Black, and he's the one whom the Police Benevolent Association put before the cameras after the acquittals. Why? Because the PBA knows that Blacks believe that "only whites can be 'racist' ", as a matter of doctrine. So, once we learn that one of the police officer culprits was Black, that will take much of the wind out of our angry sails. The New York Times reports:
In Harlem, Willie Rainey, 60, a Vietnam veteran and retired airport worker, said that he believed the detectives should have been found guilty, but that he saw the case through a prism not of race, but of police conduct. “It’s a lack of police training,” Mr. Rainey said. “It’s not about race when you have black killing black. We overplay the black card as an issue.” NYTIMES
The fact is that when society does not value Blacks as much as it values whites, this affects everyone's behavior, regardless of their skin color - both Blacks and whites. When a Black police officer, regardless of his skin-color, considers employing lethal and unnecessary force force against a Black person, OF COURSE he considers the fact that he knows there will ultimately be no consequences for doing so. He acts in the knowledge that if he shot a white person 50 times, he might well be executed in some states. The New York Times says,
Sean Bell has become a symbol of what they describe as police aggression and racial profiling in black neighborhoods. Had Mr. Bell and his friends been white, they said, the police would have responded less aggressively, and Mr. Bell might still be alive. NYTIMES
But that NEVER happens, police shooting white people as they shot Sean Bell, because everyone knows that even a police officer cannot shoot a white person 50 times! Certainly a Black police officer would not be permitted to do so! One New Yorker told the New York Times,
“I’m just concerned about what kind of message it’s going to send on both sides,” Ms. Fobbs said on Saturday. “The community here is going to feel like anybody is fair game, if something like this could happen to an unarmed man and nobody was held accountable. And then, with the officers, it sends a message to them that they can do these types of things and get away with it.” NYTIMES
So, what we have here is "color-aroused" behavior on the part of police officers, based society's reaction to the skin-color of their victims. For the Black police officer and the white one, the perception of the color of the Black victim leads police officers to ideation (he's not worth much in the eyes of society and the courts and so if I kill him no one will care, and they might even be pleased), and that leads to behavior, (shooting the person under circumstances and in a way that would never occur with a white person).

Of course, this is a more complex way to analyze the situation then accusations of "racism", but it explains perfectly why even Black policemen value the lives of Blacks less than the lives of whites. The simple fact is that the legal deterrents are de facto less for executing Black people and this makes ALL people, regardless of their skin-color, more likely to kill Black people. And the number of Blacks killed in America every year, by Blacks and whites, supports this analysis.

I'm not usually one to rely on economic analyses of human behavior, but I make an exception in this case. When Blacks lives are cheaper in the criminal justice system and in our culture, it creates more demand. When televisions sets are cheaper, white people AND Black people will express more demand for television sets. And if they were free, as Sean Bell's life has turned out to be, then television sets would fly off of the shelves, into the arms of Blacks as well as whites.

Would Black people shoot each other as we do now if we knew we would be hunted and prosecuted, just as if we had shot a white person with blue eyes and blond hair? Of course not! So color-aroused behavior, not "racism", is implicated even when Black people shoot each other!

This is why "racism" is frequently not an analysis of the situation based on the facts, but rather an ideology seeking anecdotal facts to support preconceived conclusions. Blacks, we are told, cannot be "racist" because the "canons" tells us that they cannot be. Blacks cannot be "racist" because we don't have the power in society to control whites' lives as they control ours. That's the doctrine and the canons. But, Blacks CAN be color-aroused in a way that makes us more likely to victimize other Blacks, because the facts tell us that we can be.

Saturday, 26 April 2008

"When We Do Talk About Race" - A Response

Cross-posted at MyDD.

This diary is a response to The Things We Can't Talk About, When We Do Talk About Race, And Barack Obama.

One of the reasons that we have made so little progress in our ability to talk openly about issues involving skin color is that the topic is far more complex than the language we have to describe it. And much of our language is anachronistic, based on and reminding us of a time when we were far more polarized than we are now. Lacking language to express the subtleties and complexities of the topic, we make broad stroke generalizations that are endlessly debated.

Take the word "racist", for example. If a person gets along well with co-workers of other skin colors, and hires employees without regard to skin color but, nonetheless, doesn't want his daughter to enter a bi-chromatic marriage, is that person a "racist?" If so, does that mean the person should not be permitted to make hiring and firing decisions and engage in supervision with respect to workers of other skin colors?

Rather than call this person a "racist", wouldn't it be more precise, fair and constructive to say that this individual has ideation and emotion that are aroused by skin color with respect to his daughter's marital partner? Calling this person a "racist" is like calling someone who is afraid of spiders a "coward." It's a gross generalization that does not point the way toward a solution, but simply causes defensiveness that poses a barrier to solutions.

If a person has difficult emotions with respect to the skin color of his future daughter-in-law, it's possible to imagine him even seeking therapy in order to maintain his relationship with his son or daughter. But, if the person has been branded a "racist" or a "coward", it's hard to imagine that becoming the beginning of a therapeutic process. And yet if the person does not receive therapeutic help, there is a very real possibility that his relationship with his son or daughter will be seriously impaired.

Consider these alternatives, to see which one is more constructive:

Therapist: What has brought you to my office?

Client: I have difficult feelings about my daughter marrying a Black man, but she's determined to do it.

Therapist: Many people have these feelings, but I think it's something we can work on successfully.

Compare that to:

Therapist: What has brought you to my office?

Client: I am a racist coward.

Therapist: You seem to have terribly low self-esteem because you globalize negative feelings about yourself instead of seeing realistically where you are doing well and where you need help.

Does it seem absurd that someone should seek psychotherapeutic help to deal with the fears associated with his son or daughter marrying someone of a different skin color? If so, maybe you can understand that patients with color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, like patients needing psychological help generally, are suffering an immense stigma and are not receiving the help that they need, because offering them psychological help strikes many of us as absurd.

In the absence of professional perspectives, the tendency to generalization, demonization and the resulting stigma are fundamental reasons why we are treading our wheels with respect to color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior.
We think we are helping to solve a societal problem when we call out people as "racists". In fact, we are only making it less likely that they will receive appropriate and compassionate screening, diagnosis and treatment for color-aroused difficulties.

Monday, 21 April 2008

American Conservative Reaffirms Biological Concept of "Race"

This post at the AfroSpear's All About Race blog inspired me to wade once again into the question of the continuing use of the word "race" by Black thinkers. Consider the title that Huffing Post gave to the speech that Obama named "A More Perfect Union": "Obama Race Speech". Isn't it negative propaganda about Black people that the word "race" is attached ubiquitously to us and to everything that we think and do? The American Conservative


In an era when fashionable thinkers claim that race is just a social construct, Obama's subtitle [to "Dreams of my father: a story of race and inheritance,"] is subversive."

Note the phrase "claim that race is just a social construct". You see, the American Conservative does NOT believe that "race" is "just a social concept"! Black thinkers insist upon using the word race in the belief that it has a legitimate sociological meaning. But, every time we say that we are of "the Black race" or otherwise use the word, we validate and legitimate the conservative white supremacist idea that "race" is biological. Of course, to them the word "race" is both their badge of superiority and ours of inferiority, which they use ubiquitously as a substitute for the "N" word. Instead of challenging them, we are providing linguistic cover to white supremacy by continuing to use the word "race" ourselves.

If instead we Blacks used the term "systemic denigration, subjugation and exploitation of African-Americans based on our skin color and ethnicity, then whites would be forced to either describe functionally what "race" really consists of sociologically and politically (which would educate the public) or they would have to acknowledge that they really ARE asserting the theory that Blacks are fundamentally different biologically. Because we have never abandoned the "race" word ourselves, we have never forced whites to take a position on the matter of whether "race", in their eyes, is biological or social and political.

This is why the most powerful thing that Blacks can do now rhetorically and politically is to demand that whites stop using the word "race," to insist that the word is an anti-scientific fantasy and an attack on Black's equal humanity. This would force whites to either stop using the word or to acknowledge that they don't believe that Blacks have equal biological humanity in the first place.

If you want to flush the "racists" out of the closet, just insist that they stop using the "race". The arguments that will ensue will be very enlightening. Whites who admittedly don't believe in the political concept of race will have to acknowledge that the are referring to the discredited and libelous biological concept of race, which holds that Blacks are fundamentally different and inferior biologically.

Then, we'll have them on the run politically, trapped into a public relations corner from which they will not be able to extricate themselves. We will demand proof of these fundamental differences, and they will have to admit that no sufficient proof exists, and that the real basis for their beliefs is their learned ideation about Blacks, based on culture, not science.

The American Conservative further says,

Although the biracial Obama is frequently lumped with the multiracial golfer Tiger Woods as evidence of the socially healing power of interracial marriage, their attitudes are quite different.
American Conservative

This sentence is ludicrous, if you think about it. When they say that Obama is "biracial" are they saying that, politically, he belongs both to the oppressor group and the oppressed? When, in the history of America, have half-Black people been permitted to join the oppressor group? Instead, what they are saying is that BIOLOGICAL "race" does exist and Barack Obama is biologically half from one "race" and half from another.

The only way to flush out the biological concept of race from the American psyche is to stop using the word altogether and demand that whites stop using it. The use of the word itself is a part of white privilege used to maintain whites' belief in their own inherent biological difference and superiority. Strip them of the "race" word and you strip them naked.

Returning to Barack Obama's speech, how could this speech have been about "race" if Obama never mentioned the most fundamental fact about "race": that "race" does not exist as a biological fact, but only as a sociological and political force. If you give a speech to adults about Santa Claus, should you at some point state, at least in passing, that Santa Claus is a myth, a fantasy passed on to children for their amusement and imagination? Obama never even mentioned that there is a debate as to whether race is biological or political. Obama never said that to America, so his speech really was not about the concept of "race".

Now, if Obama had said his speech was about "systemic denigration, subjugation and exploitation of African-Americans based on our skin color and ethnicity", that would have been a more accurate description of the political concept of "race" and quite a bit more challenging. If he had added that his speech was about "color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior" (otherwise known as "racism") in the presidential contest, then that, too, would have taught Americans much that they don't. (I agree that introducing all of these new concepts in the context of a presidential speech would have been much more risky than the speech he actually made, and so I am not saying that he SHOULD have done so.)

Do Blacks have to give up the "race" word and describe the political force differently if we are to have any hope that whites will give up the belief in the biological concept of "race." Can Blacks really achieve our goals in America while still enabling whites in their belief that they are fundamentally biologically different and superior? For so long as we are wedded to the word "race" as if it were our first Snoopy blanket, whites can and will continue to use the word as a subtler but ubiquitous substitute for the "N" word.

PBS site that lays out “Ten Quick Facts about Race.”

Hat tip to the AfroSpear's All About Race Blog.


The concept of “race” may be the most powerful social construct ever created. This link takes you to a PBS site that lays out “Ten Quick Facts about 'Race'.” Some highlights:

"Race" is a modern idea - Ancient societies did not divide people according to physical differences, but according to religion, status, class, even language.

Race and freedom were born together - When the US was founded, equality was a radical new idea. But our early economy was based largely on slavery. The concept of race helped to explain why some people could be denied the rights and freedoms that others took for granted.

Race Justified social inequalities as natural - As the race concept evolved, it justified extermination of Native Americans, exclusion of Asian immigrants, and taking of Mexican lands. Racial practices were institutionalized within government, laws and society.

Skin color is only skin deep - Most traits are inherited independently of one another. The genes for skin color have nothing to do with genes for hair texture, eye shape, blood type, musical talent or athletic ability.

Race is not biological but racism is still real - "Race" is still a powerful social idea that gives different people different access to opportunities and resources. Our government and society have created advantages to being white. This affects everyone, whether we are aware of it or not. Ten Quick Facts about Race, PBS

Also, check out “The 'Race' Timeline”which answers the question: Has "race" always been the same?

Editor's Note: Quotation marks have been placed around the word "race" wherever it appears in the above text.

Sunday, 20 April 2008

Why "Racism" Isn't Required for a Hate Crimes Conviction

Blacks have conditioned whites to believe that "racism" is bad, but "hidden racism" is less bad. The fact is that ALL antagonistic color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior is suspect and potentially corrosive to individuals, relationships and society.

"Racism" is systemic color-aroused denigration, subjugation, exploitation based on skin-color and ethnicity, right? So, if it's not demonstrably systemic, like a white person calling a stranger the
"N" word on the street, then that's NOT as bad as "racism" because it's not systemic, right?

It is entirely possible for a public act to be blatantly color-aroused and therefore suspect to most people without the same act being obviously "racist" to those same people. And so when you try to convince people that everything must be "racist" before it rises to the level of "blatancy" that requires action, YOU, YOU are setting the bar so high that you will, most times, be unable to convince others that there is sufficient cause for action.

It is obvious that Geraldine Ferraro's comments about Barack Obama were aroused by the color of Barack Obama's skin. They explicitly referenced the color of Barack Obama's skin as the basis for their rationale. So, the remarks were color-aroused. However, they are only "racist" if they were unjustified, right? So, if a person believes that they were partly justified, that person has to reject your argument that the remarks were racist. Certainly, the person cannot form an opinion as to whether the remarks were "racist" until the determine whether the remarks were justified.

Well, what if criminal law worked on the same principle, particularly hate laws? Certainly the defendant called the victim, a stranger, the "N" word just before the stranger shot the victim. That's enough for a hate crime conviction, because the defendant's verbal acts specifically referenced the victim's skin color in the act of committing the crime.

But, what if the standard were higher? What if, in addition to proving that the "N" word was used, you had to prove that this particular use of the "N" word was "racist"? Well, then you'd have to have expert testimony on the definition of "racism" and on the fact that "racism" motivated this use of the "N" word.

Would that reduce the likelihood that anyone would be convicted under hate crime statutes? You bet it would! Criminal laws have to be sufficiently clear to let the defendant know what is forbidden. Is the term "racism" sufficiently clearly to enough of society that forbidding "racism" would forbid all "racist behavior"? Of course not! That's what we spend so much time arguing about!

Criminal law makes simple evidence of color-aroused anger sufficient to increase the penalty applied. Change the burden of proof to "racism" and thousands of people would go free who would otherwise have been convicted.

Monday, 14 April 2008

Bearing the Evidentiary Burden of "Racism"

It is easier to prove the behavior instead of proving what a person is. So, how do you change the approach. It starts with us.

When we are aggrieved, instead of alleging what people "are" (which makes it hard or impossible for us to prove our case) we should state clearly what they have done and the evidence that it was color-aroused. (This is a basic tenet of therapy anyway, right? State the behavior instead of calling people names?)

We should always limit ourselves to alleging specific instances of color-aroused antagonistic behavior, NOT "racism" or that someone is a "racist." That alone will make us more credible in the media and with our patients and colleagues, because we will not be making charges that are basically impossible to prove. Instead we will be making assertions the proof of which is already in the record (e.g. co-worker has repeatedly called people the "N" word during work hours".

When we say that we are fighting "racism" it makes it seem as if individual acts of color-aroused antagonism do not, in and of themselves, rise to a level that requires remediation. Some of us believe that, in addition to proving that the person engaged in acts of color-aroused antagonism, we have to make the case that these acts prove that the person is a "racist" or we have to convince others that these acts constitute "racism".

Many white people and the media agree that acts of color-aroused antagonism are unacceptable and ought not be repeated, but they will not join us in labeling someone who engages in those acts "racist".

We need to realize that it is not necessary for someone to be a "racist" in order for them to need retraining or dismissal from a job. It is sufficient that they have engaged in one or more acts of color-aroused antagonism, because that alone is something that most people abhor, at least publicly, because we all understand how destructive, provocative and inflammatory it is.

White people will never agree that most whites are "racist". But they might agree, based on evidence, that most whites have engaged in acts of color-aroused antagonism or disparate treatment. Those are the acts that Black people are angry about, and that are destructive to the fabric of society, whether or not they were "racist" acts committed by "racists."

Here's an example: Recently surrogates for the Clintons defended the Clintons against charges of racist behavior by saying that, "the Clintons are not racists." A lot of people agreed with that assertion, but does that really address the question at hand? What difference does that make whether the Clintons are "racists" if everyone agrees that the Clintons are engaging in identifiable acts of color-associated antagonism?

We Blacks are responsible for charges of "racism" and so we Blacks are responsible for having set the evidentiary bar so high that our case becomes impossible to prove. The change has to start with us.

US Goverment Engages in New Tuskegee Type Experiments

From Yahoo News, and reprinted from Bakare Chronicle:

Although whites would have us believe that AIDS could NOT have been started by whites and that the Tuskegee Experiment could never happen again,

BALTIMORE - Scientists using federal grants spread fertilizer made from human and industrial wastes on yards in poor, black neighborhoods to test whether it might protect children from lead poisoning in the soil. Families were assured the sludge was safe and were never told about any harmful ingredients.

Nine low-income families in Baltimore row houses agreed to let researchers till the sewage sludge into their yards and plant new grass. In exchange, they were given food coupons as well as the free lawns as part of a study published in 2005 and funded by the Housing and Urban Development Department.

The Associated Press reviewed grant documents obtained under the Freedom of Information Act and interviewed researchers. No one involved with the $446,231 grant for the two-year study would identify the participants, citing privacy concerns. There is no evidence there was ever any medical follow-up.

Comparable research was conducted by the Agriculture Department and Environmental Protection Agency in a similarly poor, black neighborhood in East St.Louis, III. Yahoo News

Apparently, our Federal government, or at least HUD and the EPA have forgotten one of it's more blatant instances of racism and egregious errors in judgment, the Tuskegee experiment. It is impossible to read these two lines,

Families were assured the sludge was safe and were never told about any harmful ingredients.

There is no evidence there was ever any medical follow-up. Yahoo News

and not be filled with the memory, if you learned of it in history, of those young men in Tuskegee, FL, being lied to and experimented on to see the results that unchecked syphilis would have on their health. NO MEDICAL FOLLOW-UP!

It galls me. It galls me that the major news institutions can make federal cases out of Rev. Jeremiah Wright's prophetic indignation at a nation whose policies undervalue and marginalize whole populaces, and reduce it to the rantings of a mad man, when in our own backyard our own government is conducting more experimentation on its citizens!

Why isn't this being proclaimed as foul from every mouth-piece with a microphone?! Because racism and classism are bedfellows. Because distributive justice is a principal ingrained in the system, and the idea that their is a "God ordained" gap in the rich and poor is a philosophy most hard to relinquish. Especially when it has worked for you for centuries.

Truly did James Baldwin say:

Anyone who has ever struggled with poverty knows how extremely expensive it is to be poor.

Truer words have never been spoken. However, I would have to add "and minority" to Baldwin's sage words. For as the story goes on to say, and I suggest you read the whole thing:

Another study investigating whether sludge might inhibit the "bioavailability" of lead — the rate it enters the bloodstream and circulates to organs and tissues — was conducted on a vacant lot in East St. Louis next to an elementary school, all of whose 300 students were black and almost entirely from low-income families. Yahoo News

I believe I can rest my case.

How Fighting "Racism" Fails Us

Imagine that you are a psychiatrist. A patient comes to your office, referred after losing his job because he called several people the "N" word at work. Do you have to show him that he is a "racist" or that he has engaged in "racism" before you can begin treating him, or is it sufficient to know that he has engaged in acts of color-aroused antagonism that have caused him to lose his job?

Would it be helpful to start treatment by trying to convince the patient that he has engaged in "racism"? Or would it be far quicker, more positive and more useful to identify and discuss his specific acts of color-aroused antagonism and discuss how these specific acts have have hurt his employability, discussing the ideation and emotion that led to these acts? Can you see the difference? Which approach would lead to the greatest scientific consensus and quickest clinical success?

Even if the clients readily acknowledges the specific acts, and that they were color-aroused and antagonistic, will you be able to convince him that his acts are "racist" and that he is a "racist"? Is it necessary or useful to do so before treating his specific behavior patterns?

We Black people would be strategically advantaged if we simply stopped trying to argue that people were "racist" and instead argued that they had engaged in antagonistic color-aroused behavior. We need to make it clear that ALL antagonistic color-aroused behavior is unacceptable, whether it is committed by a "racist", constitutes "racism" or not. Acts of antagonistic color-aroused behavior are much easier to prove than it is to prove what someone "is".

WE have hurt ourselves by insisting that we need to prove that someone "is a racist" before they can be removed from a position of public responsibility. We have hurt ourselves by insisting that we need to prove that a policy "is racist" before it can be overturned. When we take to the airwaves, we should simply say that an act or policy is color-aroused and antagonistic, which is far easier to demonstrate than it is to demonstrate that a policy or act is part of an international pattern of systemic color-aroused denigration, subjugation and exploitation of Black people.

When I was in law school, my professor told me never to exaggerate the burden of proof, because it only made my job harder when it came time to meet the burden. Black people determine what the burden of proof is in the public square. We need to clarify the burden of proof that we observe and we need to declare much earlier that we have met our burden of proof. This would enable us build consensus more expeditiously and to act with more certainty.

We Blacks have a lot of control over this. When we go to the media about an act of color-aroused antagonism, do we call the act "racist" and start an argument that cannot be resolved to anyone's satisfaction. Or do we state that which is obvious to everyone: the act is color-aroused and antagonistic and therefore is out of bounds.

Sunday, 13 April 2008

The burden of prove on the charge of "racism" is far more demanding than on a criminal charge in a criminal court.

All too often, the word "racism" sends discussion about color-aroused antagonism off on a wild goose chase. Here's how it works:

1). A white human being in the United States does something to a Black human being, or says something about a Black human being or all Black human beings, which many whites and Blacks find to be repulsive and intolerable.

2). Some whites and Blacks insist that the intolerable and repulsive act was "racist" while some whites and Blacks insist that it was not, even if all agree that the acts were intolerable and repulsive. The assumption is that if the intolerable acts are found to be "racist" than they are impermissible, but if the intolerable acts are NOT "racist" then they are permissible and may be repeated at will.

3). Since there is no generally agreed upon test to determine what is "racist" and what is not (US courts don't use the term at all as the basis for their decisions and the US Congress has never defined "racism"), we therefore can reach no consensus about how to apply the "racism" test or even what the "racism" test is.

At the same time, there IS general consensus that antagonism that is aroused by perceiving the skin color of another is always suspect. And everything one does after that perception (ideation, emotion and behavior) should be subject to exacting scrutiny. For example, under federal law, if one person calls a stranger the "N" word and then shoots the person, that can be prosecuted as a hate crime. The simple fact of using an antagonistic color-associated word pretty much resolves the question of whether it was a hate crime or not.

Why? Because, after the use of the "N" word, it is obvious that the illegal behavior was prompted by the perception of the skin color of the victim. And then that perception led to ideation and emotion that might well have been hate (but could have also been envy, jealousy, fear, shame, guilt). In any case, without ever making reference to the word "racism", courts are able to determine whether skin color aroused the perpetrator to attack the victim.

When someone makes a color-associated antagonistic remark, we immediately begin to debate whether that person is "a racist". Thankfully, a defendant need not be convicted of being "a racist" to be convicted or receive an enhanced penalty under a hate crimes statute, because the question is not "what the person is" but rather, as in all criminal cases, "what the person has done and what his motive was."

Criminal law understands that motives based on ephemeral feelings and desires, and feelings that motivate unlawful plans and actions, are more important, more useful and more feasible than determining whether the defendant "is a bad person". Unfortunately, in our discussion of color arousal, we seemed compelled to go beyond the question of whether illicit ideation and emotion have motivated an illicit act; we want to determine, in addition, whether the illicit act is evidence of a "bad personality," ie. "racist."

If that were the standard in criminal courts to achieve a criminal conviction, then simple cases would last for months while prosecutors tried to prove that, in addition to having stolen something, the defendant also met the standard for "inherent thief". If he could not be proved an inherent thief, then he would go free, because what would be illicit would be the alleged nature of the personhood of the defendant, rather than a specific act of which he was accused.

Trials would last for months, every trial would require expert psychiatric and even sociological testimony; fewer cases could be tried and fewer convictions were obtained. Defendants would emerge from courts smiling, saying "They were able to prove that I stole a car, but the case foundered when they were unable to prove that I was, by nature, inherently a car thief."

Would this perpetrator be convicted if he had to be convicted of "racism"? What is the definition of "racism"? Does calling someone the "N" word once mean the assailant was really "racist"? Maybe he was just having a bad day? Sure the defendant committed an otherwise illegal act, but was it a "racist" act.

Unable to agree on whether using the "N" word once necessarily makes a person a lifelong "racist", therefor a jury might get hung up on debating "racism" and therefore not be able to decide the case at all. Had the test of hateful language been applied instead, the simple use of the "N" word would have been sufficient for a conviction under hate statutes.

In contrast, we constantly argue over whether antagonistic color-associated words and arguments are "racist", and rarely are these arguments resolved to everyone's satisfaction.

For the rest of us, however, we have to apply and resolve the "racism" test before we can decide whether that behavior rises to the level that we are allowed to be angry about it and mobilize others against.

When those who oppose hate crime laws argue against them, they never argue that calling someone the "N" word is not evidence of color-associated antagonism. That argument would be too absurd for anyone to take it seriously. Rather, they concede that it is OBVIOUSLY evidence of hate, but they argue that feelings expressed, they argue, ought not increase the legal penalty for behavior that is already illegal.

If Don Imus had called the Rutgers basketball players "nappy-headed hos" and then proceeded to shoot them, there would be no doubt in a court of law that he had committed a hate crime. Certainly, that would be the evidence needed to charge him with it. But, were his comments "racist"? Some people are still arguing that they were not sufficient "racist" to justify his dismissal.

One would think that white people would be all in favor of retiring the word "racist", but many of them are not. In fact, the interminable debate over what rises to the level of "racism" always gives whites wiggle room to engage in behavior that everyone agrees is antagonistic and aroused by or associated with skin color. "Sure, it's antagonistic and aroused by or associated with the perception of skin color, but is it "racist"?"

Monday, 7 April 2008

Color Aroused Ideation Led to Underestimation of Obama's Potential


Earlier this year, some blogs as well as Clintons surrogates argued that Barack Obama would have a difficult time winning the presidential race simply because of his skin color. However, the graphic above (full of actual facts) tells a different story. Ten governors of US states are for Clinton, but 13 (30% more) have endorsed Obama. Governors, as we all know, are super-delegates, and so their opinion counts whether they are from caucus states, big states or small states. Of course Clinton and her surrogates will assure us that this fact does not matter, and is not indicative of meaningul support for Obama.

The graphic also shows that while Clinton has the support of 13 US senators, Obama has the support of 17 senators. Obama has five more US senators than Clinton does!

Now, Clinton has the support of 73 members of the US House of Representatives, while Obama has 71, or only two less.

Regardless of our hopes, I suspect that few of us, except perhaps Barack Obama and his campaign aides, believed that Barack Obama's campaign could find itself in this position today. In addition to Clintons strong position going in, also no Black person has ever been elected president. It was natural that our learned experience had taught us that a Black person would have difficulty being nominated and then elected president.

Thus, our historical experience helped conditioned our ideation - what we would believe and refuse to believe, think and exclude from our thinking. In addition, we have all been told, explicitly or implicitly, throughout our childhoods and adult lives that there was only so much that Black people could expect to achieve in our society. The question, "Is American ready for a Black president?" is another way of saying, "America has never in the past elected a Black president and there is significant doubt whether America will do so now."

Of course, there was also significant doubt four years ago whether Massachusetts and New York would ever have Black governors. We may never have believed that a Black man would win the Democratic primaries in Vermont and Iowa. We have all learned that, thankfully, our past does not entirely determine our futures in America, individually or collectively.

It is fair to say however, that just by perceiving or becoming aware of Barack Obama's skin color, many of us had learned beliefs about what was possible for him and what was possible for us with respect to him. These beliefs that were automatically aroused by the perception or awareness of his skin color are called "color-aroused ideation." "Color-aroused ideation" is ideation that automatically occurs in our heads when we perceive the "cue" or "stimulus" of skin-color.

Like a horse is followed by a carriage, color-aroused ideation is often followed by color-aroused emotions. When we have the color-aroused thought that "A Black man can't possibly win", this thought may arouse in us feelings of shock (e.g. that he would run), anger (e.g. that he is taking a place that would have been for someone else); fear (that he will win the nomination but, because of his color, he will lose the General Election), etc. We call these color-aroused fears because, just as lighting a wick leads to the ignition of the dynamite, arousing color-based ideation may often lead to the arousal of color-aroused emotions.

Here's an analogy: The mere perception that my wife is out late (stimulus, cue, perception) may lead to the thought occuring to me that my wife may be cheating on me (ideation), and then I may become angry, fearful and jealous (emotion). Regardless of whether my ideation and emotion become manifest in visible behavior, just having this ideation and emotion can be a problem for me, whether or not I express it to my wife or to anyone else.

It certainly would be a waste of my time to have this jealous and angry ideation and emotion based on a misperception of the facts. And yet we know that some people are habitually jealous, perceiving deception where it does not exist and then ruining their lives and others', and missing opportunities, when they act upon these mispercerptions.

Likewise, the mere perception of the skin-color of ourselves and/or of another sometimes arouses ideation that leads to emotion and sometimes to color-aroused behavior. Some people would have us believe that the mere perception of Barack Obama's skin color should cause us to access our historically learned conditioning and other beliefs (ideation) about the role and expectations of Black people in our society. They say that our color-aroused ideation ('he can't win, he's taking someone else's spot, he doesn't deserve it') should cause us to experience emotions (fear, anger, envy) that would be manifested in our color-aroused behavior (voting against or otherwise not supporting Barack Obama).

Now, a tricky question arises that has, when posed otherwise, confounded theoreticians for at least two generations. Is it possible for a Black person to have color-aroused ideation, emotion and voting behavior against a Black candidate? Well, just ask yourself whether it's possible for a Black person to vote against Obama in the belief that a Black person cannot win the General Election. Of course that is possible! When a Black person permits the mere skin color of another Black person to elicit color-aroused ideation, emotion and/or behavior, then that Black person has color-aroused ideation, emotion and/or behavior.

Many of us, (in fact, most Democrats who have voted) however, are no longer willing to accept the premise that the mere perception of the skin color of ourselves and others would invariably determine our voting ideation, voting emotion and voting behavior. We insist upon gathering all of the information that we would gather in any election before making a decision, not letting the mere perception of skin color short circuit or predetermine the result of this process.

This determination to make decisions based on present-day evidence rather than based on historical conditioning, color-aroused ideation, emotions and behavior is the basis of all hope for progress. And today, as the chart above demonstrates, there is a lot of cause for hope.

Why the "Race" Word is Wrong

In the days following our AfroSpear Black blogger group's successful organizing in the Jena Six Justice March, one of the things that angers me about the otherwise excellent press coverage is the constant use of the words "race," "racial" and "racist" in these articles. Although many highly respected minority thinkers strongly disagree with me, including Professor Ridwan Laher and the renowned Black blogger Field Negro, still I insist that although the sociological "race" concept can stay, still the word "race" itself must be conclusively abandoned.

I believe that the phrase "Black race" is nearly synonymous with the phrase "Black people." The greatest difference is that white supremacist groups prefer the word "race" because of its discredited biological connotations while the phrase "Black People" evokes Black self-determination. The phrase "Black People" is used to signify a political group.

Here's what the white supremacist "Nationalist Party USA" says about "race:"

The Nationalist Party embraces the differences in Cultures and races, and allows for each group to embrace their own heritage -- while recognizing the right to live separately, if we choose; and to preserve our unique Culture and heritage. Nationalist Party USA

Clearly their belief in different races rationalizes, in their minds, their belief in and advocacy for segregation. And why not? Do we segregate dogs and cats at the dog pound? As soon as you concede that we are from different "races" you have conceded a fundamental point in their argument that we should live separately (and unequally).

Here's another quote from the same white supremacist website:

"Michael Levin's long-awaited book on race has finally arrived, every bit as powerful and insightful as his admirers had hoped it would be. Why Race Matters does exactly what the title promises -- it removes all illusions about the insignificance of race, and explains what racial differences mean for a multi-racial society. It is a thorough, overwhelmingly convincing treatment of America's most serious and least understood problem. Like the work of Arthur Jensen and Philippe Rushton, it destroys the egalitarian myth, but Prof. Levin parts company with other academics in his willingness to tell us what biology means for policy. Facts imply conclusions, and this book draws them.

"The question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal, but why anyone would believe them equal."

As Prof. Levin points out, a book like Why Race Matters should not have to be written. The only sensible conclusion to be drawn from simple observation is that races differ: "To put the matter bluntly, the question is not why anyone would believe the races are unequal in intelligence, but why anyone would believe them equal." For centuries, people as different as Arabs and Englishmen have judged Africans to be unintelligent, lascivious, jolly, and keen on rhythm. Today, in whatever corner of the globe one looks, blacks behave in certain consistent ways." Nationalist Party USA

So, there you have it! White supremacists agree with Blacks who insist that we must keep using the word "race"! White supremacists believe it is essential that we maintain our belief in "race," and they want to continue using that very word, precisely because science will never offer them any empirically-based substitute. The belief in the biological concept of "race" is the seemingly immortal brother of long-since discredited "phrenology."

The phrase "Black race" has historically been used by white supremacist groups in their battle to isolate and marginalize Black people. In fact, Barack Obama's effort to win the presidency is hobbled by whites' and Blacks' continued acceptance of the proposition that he is from a different "race" from whites. Whites have never elected a president whom they believe to be from a different "race." Those who are willing to consider voting for Barack Obama are only willing to do so because they have realized that he is NOT from a different "race," he merely has a different skin-color.

However, the mainstream media and white supremacist groups will continually use the words "race" and "racial" and "racist" over the next 14 months to create a sense of fundamental biological difference between Barack and America that actually has no basis in biology. Yet, this is very effective propaganda, because Americans don't like to elect people who are perceived as "different." They want to elect people who they believe are like them.

Every time Black people and white people use the word "race" instead of the term "the Black people" they give credence to the proposition that race is biological as well as political and cultural.

I know from my personal blogging experience that if there is anything about which many white people and Black people are in agreement, it's that the word "race" is essential to how we see ourselves and our definition of our relationship to one another. And that's precisely why we have to abandon the word "race." The word (not the concept of a sociologically distinct people) is the linguistic clothing of slavery, but we are Blacks are still wearing it centuries after it was forced upon us by our slavemasters.

I know that there are a lot of good and great leaders (like Field Negro) who disagree with me about this, perhaps because they cannot separate the word "race" from the sociological concept of "race." And so they cannot see how we can abandon the one without abandoning the other. But, it's really simple. Just stop using the word "race" and, as for the concept, describe what you mean with particularity instead of using once overarching words (like "race" and "racist") as a linguistic crutch.

As I've said before, there is no pot of gold in the treasure map where the word "race" marks the spot. There is no magic to that four letter word, and the belief that our world will change radically for the worse if we abandon the word while keeping the concept is a superstitious belief. Keep the sociological concept, but loose the word!

I can accept that many people don't agree with me. I just remind myself that most humans once agreed that the world was flat, while many white scientists once agreed that white people's head shape (phrenology) was indicative of intelligence while Black people's head shape was not. I trust that the inevitable march of science will compel us to abandon the word "race" as we abandoned the word "phrenology."

So, when I challenge canons, I couldn't care less that they are canons. I only care whether they are true or not. If they are true, then they can stand on their own two feet, without having to remind anyone who long and how hard we have held these particular words in great esteem. If they are false, like the belief that the world is flat, then no amount of precedent can change the fact that the belief stands as barrier to increased knowledge.

The most blatant area in which I challenge received wisdom is my insistence that we must end the 43-consecutive term white male monopoly of the American presidency in 2008. If anything is received wisdom in the United States, this is it, and it has to go. I am so determined about this that I believe I will not return to the United States (from Brazil) until the 43-consecutive term white male monopoly of the presidency has come to an end.

Now, I need to apologize to professor Ridwan about something: It's not the concept of "race" as a sociological matter that I believe needs to be abandoned, and so I am not urging the abandonment of "the canon" in its entirely. I am merely urging the abandonment of a word "race" and its derivatives, in favor of empirical description of what we see in our world.

What I see is skin-color-based historical and systemic oppression, subjugation and marginalization of people on the societal level, as well a learned color-aroused emotion, ideation and behavior disorder in individuals, a mental illness that is "nurtured" in the American environment (as well as in too many other places).

In this area, as in all of science, careful description rather than broad generalization is our friend. It leads to greater agreement. When we conclusively abandon the word "race" then the age of science will have begun in this crucial area of intellectual endeavor.

Why Whites Insist hat the Word "Black" Not Be Capitalized

Some whites express that they are terribly offended by the capitalization of the word "Black". This is an example of their color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior.

While we can only speculate based on the information at hand why the capitalization of the word "Black" offends them so, I suspect it is because they think that "Black" is a merely a skin color and not an ethnic group. Of course, we regularly capitalize the words "Irish" and "Hispanic" and "Italian" because we recognize that the names of ethnic groups should be capitalized.

However, because Blacks were brought to the United States and so many other countries as slaves, we don't know the individual African countries from which we came, otherwise we could refer to ourselves as "Angolans", and that would of course be capitalized.

The term "African-American" is capitalized, however many Black people are not American, although most of us are African.

During American slavery and slavery elsewhere, it was more important to whites to distinguish us from themselves, by referring to the fact that our skin was darker, than it was to permit us to maintain a knowledge of our specific origins in African countries. They stole this knowledge from us as part of the enforcement of slavery.

Now, having stolen from us the African country name that would be capitalized when referring to our origins, they ALSO want to take advantage of that historic abomination to deny many of us the right to capitalize the ethnic name which we carried for decades, before the term "African-American" came into vogue.

Finally, I suspect that capitalizing the word "Black" means that we are a people, a political group, however subjugated we may be, rather than just a skin color, and that's what offends some whites. When "Black" is not capitalized, it conforms to the idea that there is a "black race" that is fundamentally biologically different from the "white race", biologically in significant ways, ways other than skin color. When Black is capitalized, it is an assertion that "Black" is really a different political and social identity rather than a biologically different sub-genus of the human species.

Whites insist that we must be considered different, but it must be based on our skin color, not based on a common identity, which is something they find terribly threatening and arrogant of us. Capitalizing the word "Black" implies and creates the threat of a Black political and social force. Fearing this, whites insist upon NOT capitalizing the word "Black", lest they admit the existence of social and political forces that they do not understand and cannot control.

These, I believe, are some of the color-aroused ideational, emotional and behavioral aspects of whites' insistence that we not capitalize the word "Black" and that they will not capitalize the word "Black."