Cross posted at the Francis L. Holland blog.
I saw a great movie this weekend called "Why Did I Get Married Too?" (see Internet Movie Data Base (IMDB)), with African American Tyler Perry as writer, actor and director. This is a movie with a Black aesthetic but relevance for all. Four couples get together yearly to review their relationships and commitments, but this year's gathering at a ski resort brings some shocking surprises and plot twists.
This movie is a "must see." The nine main characters are all very well developed (an amazing feat), with roles and behavior that remind us of someone we know--or maybe even ourselves.
Also prominent in the cast were a highly respectable Janet Jackson, as a psychologist with an award winning book on marriage and relationships; Malik Yoba as a physician; Richard T. Jones as a very credible asshole husband; Louis Gosett Jr., Sharon Leal and even Ciciley Tyson, although I didn't notice her.
The trailers on the DVD were maddening. They were for two movies that I would never even consider seeing, because each of them has an implausibly and maddeningly all-white cast. There's "Group Therapy," about group-member city-dwellers whose all-white lives are explored. To me, all-white lives are about as interesting as all-white fried chicken and broccoli. Please don't see "Group Therapy" because the underlying theme of the movie is white apartheid in Hollywood and the return of Jim Crow in the movie theaters.
Also on the trailer was "New In Town," a movie about a white New York business woman who is chosen from an all-white boardroom to go to Minnesota and preside over the overhaul of an all-white factory that is losing money. Maybe the factory is losing money because of all the anti-discrimination claims it loses when it hires all-white factory employees. All-white staffs are inherently suspect, but Hollywood does not seem to have gotten that lesson yet.
All the more reason to see Tyler Perry's "Why Did I Get Married Too," which has an integrated staff (there's a white waitress in a diner who has no lines in the movie), and the movie avoids stereotypes by focusing on the lives of realistic Blacks: a doctor, a psychologist, a chemist with her own makeup company, a hard-working corporate lawyer, an ex-professional football player . . .
This movie is about financially successful lives and hilariously and maddeningly complicated relationships. In one explosive scene, all of the couple's secrets come out and then no one knows how the chaos will end.
|I refuse to see Hollywood's apartheid movies. If there are no Black (or Asian or Native American) people in the advertisements for a movie, then the movie is a work of Hollywood publicity apartheid. I assume the movie itself will be the same. Don't waste your money on Hollywood's American apartheid in the new millennium when South African apartheid ended in the last millennium. Sometimes a great actor like Forrest Whittaker is in a mostly white film, but Whittaker's face and name are not on the posters. Unfortunately, I'll miss that movie, because if the movie is advertised as an apartheid movie then I will treat it as such. |
This is not to say that whites-only movies don't occasionally have their merits. But none of their merits is so fundamental as to trump the moral imperative that we refrain from supporting apartheid.
White actors who participate in all-white casts should look around themselves and realize that they are participating in a modern-day Klan rally. They should be treated with all of the admiration we have for members of the Klu Klux Klan, except these Klan members appear on the big screen, without the shame and self-awareness to understand that they should have white hoods on. I won't see their all-white movies and I won't see ANY of their movies. Some people are going to disagree with me about this, mostly because they're always watched television and movies with all-white casts and never given it a second thought.
Well, give it some thought now: "whites-only" casts are a facet of American apartheid, just like a "whites-only" movie theater would be.
Monday, 19 April 2010
Monday, April 19, 2010
My Dear Editor:
Let me address the criticism to my article “Unhealthy Rhetoric”, and separate the genuine from the bigoted hate mail. Eddie Griffin is a nice guy compared to what most African-Americans are saying in secret. Most see the Tea Party as the new KKK. I see it as a cover from Racism.
Now let’s not be “intellectually lazy” as one critic accuse of me. The word “Racism” should not be confused with bigoted racial hatred. The latter is an outgrowth of the former. Racism is an ideology that precedes the outward emotional demonstration of racial hatred.
Who has the power to define, anyway? Who has the power to define what Racism truly is?
The black intelligentsia specifically defined Racism as “the ideology of white supremacy practiced by class suppression along racial lines.” For us, this is not a debatable concept. It is simply the definition we put forth to the United Nations in 1964, when “We Charged Genocide” against the United States for the second time in history- the first being submitted in the 1950s by Paul Robeson and company, and later amended by Malcolm X and the black intelligentsia, of which Eddie Griffin was an original party.
Some Fort Worth Weekly critics accuse me of being a “racist” because I described what I saw as “unhealthy rhetoric” in the Tea Party movement and at its rallies. This accusation of my being a racist is a throwback to the Mike Wallace interview of Malcolm X around 1964. Wallace accused Malcolm X of being a “black racist”. Malcolm, on the other hand, pointed out that Racism was a political ideology like other “ism” (Nazism, communism, socialism, totalitarianism). The ideology was founded long ago on the premise of white supremacy and the myth of the “White man’s burden”, as the sole conveyor of civilization.
A person cannot change the word to change the reality of race relationships. Calling a black man a racist, Malcolm X pointed out, was like calling the victimized the victimizer. No so, only a few Negroes would subscribe to the ideology of white supremacy. And, in those, would be found a “racist” in black skin.
That the United Nation rejected our definition because, as they said, any race can oppress another race, and technically be called “racism”. White supremacy was more evident under the “apartheid” system in South Africa.
Nevertheless, the definition and meaning of the word stuck with those of us who believed in the validity of Malcolm X’s argument. Webster dictionary was no authority either, seeing that it defined “Negro” as “something dead”. And, we refused to let others put words in our mouths, as was customary for slave owners to put words in the mouth of the slave. For the first time in history, we spoke for ourselves and defined our own reality, as we saw it.
One of the Seven Principals of Liberation was Kujichagulia (Self-Determination): To define ourselves, name ourselves, create for ourselves, and speak for ourselves.
Meaning no disrespect, it would be inappropriate for someone to tell me what to see and what to say. I saw in the Tea Party movement is what I saw. And, I am not the only one.
[See also “Brutal Political Debate Once Again Widens A Cultural Divide” by Elisabeth Ivy, Star-Telegram, April 19, 2010; and “Remember, Some People Take Battle Cries Seriously” by Kathleen Parker, Star-Telegram, April 18, 2010]
* * * * *
In spite of its historic logic, one problem with the historic definition of "racism" is that it is too narrow, ideological and diffuse to help us in our analysis of much of what we see going on today.
Many whites are joining the Tea Party movement as a reaction against the election of a Black President. I believe their motive for joining the movement is aroused by the ideation, emotion and behavior they experience when they perceive President Barack Obama's skin color. If this is so, does it mean that those in the Tea Party movement are "racist"?
Maybe not. Unless we can convince the press that Tea Partiers are "practicing class suppression along racial lines" then we can't use your 1964 UN definition to convince the press that blind visceral hatred of Blacks regardless of class equals "racism". And, in America, if you don't fit the definition of "racist" then you are alright, and don't have a problem, even if you hate black people because the color of their skin simply unnerves you.
We've gotten as far as we're going to get and taught all that we can with the political and ideological definitions of racism. Now, we need to look at color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior of individuals and refer them to psychiatrists as necessary.
Is a billionaire white man who desperately wants to marry a generic Black woman--any Black woman--necessarily "racist"? Even though the result of their divorce would be to improve the economic status of his white wife?
Is a billionaire Cablanasian golfer who desperately wants to marry a white woman to be defined as a "racist," even though their divorce would improve the white woman's class status when she gets half of his wealth?
The definition provided by UN 1964 simply doesn't offer any insight into cases like this, because it focuses on societal patterns rather than individual psychiatric issues. Both perspectives are necessary. We can't cure cancer until we have demographic information about its prevalence and causes. We also can't cure cancer without looking with great particularity and specificity at individuals who have cancer right now and seeing what can be done to eradicate it from those individuals, one by one.
Just as there is no single societal cure for cancer, there is no hope for addressing color aroused ideation, emotion and behavior in individuals unless we begin to screen for, diagnose and treat this psychiatric illness in individuals who have the disorder.
Francis L. Holland
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Porto Seguro, Bahia, Brazil
To the Editors of American Prospect:
Adam Serwer's April 9, 2010 article, "Our Racial Interior," reviewing Claude M. Steele's new book, "Whistling Vivaldi: And Other Clues to How Stereotypes Affect Us (Issues of Our Time), is timely and important. The studies cited in the article confirm the existence and importance of a psychological phenomenon I call "color arousal," wherein the perception of others' skin color and the complex knowledge of our own skin color arouse ideation, emotion and behavior that can range from the benign (toddlers expressing curiousity about the skin color of other toddlers) to Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECAD), in which extreme color aroused emotions, ideation and behavior lead to threats, violence, and loss of liberty for those suffering from the disorder.
At present, those who verbally and physically threaten or assault others at work or at school based on skin color are often referred to one-day "sensitivity training" workshops. Psychiatric interventions conducted by "sensitivity trainers" are frequently unsuccessful and often lead to tragic results when the level of intervention is inappropriate for the severity of the illness.
A longtime Lockheed employee, [Doug] Williams fumed when blacks at the plant complained about his racial slurs or received better-paying jobs, according to several co-workers. He once wore the bootie of a white protective suit on his head in the shape of what black workers said looked like a Ku Klux Klan hood. Given the choice by management to remove it or go home, Williams left. Lockheed took no disciplinary action against him for the incident, according to Lockheed documents.
Many who knew Williams had feared, even predicted, violence would eventually erupt.
Doug Williams killed himself, as well as Black and white co-workers, on the very morning when he was to attend yet another required "sensitivity training." Instead, he should have been referred for psychiatric evaluation to determine whether he could safely and constructively participate in intimate encounters with those polychromatic workers whom he most hated and wanted to kill. But his psychiatric color aroused symptoms received less seriousness than depression or obesity would have.
Unfortunately, there is virtually no psychiatric treatment available for persons with Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder (ECAD) (which should be diagnosed as the Social Security Administration diagnoses disability claims, based on whether the sufferers' emotions, ideation and behavior cause significant impairment in one or more critical areas of life functioning, e.g.:
- unlawful and punishable workplace behavior that leads to discipline and/or dismissal;
- antagonistic behavior towards strangers in public based on skin color and risking violent arguments, physical harm to self and others, arrest and imprisonment;loss of employment and social status;
- isolation from children, spouses, family, friends and co-workers resulting from the the sufferers' hatred, fear, jealousy, envy or other strong emotions on skin color;
- Fights, taunts, expulsion, suspension or absences from school or college resulting from color-aroused ideaiton, emotion and behavior, including cases in which they inhibit the sufferers' own educational attainment.
Every employee or student who taunts, threatens or harms others based on skin color should be immediately referred for psychiatric evaluation, lest these behaviors progress and erupt in extreme color-aroused violence or lead to intolerably workplace circumstances for which employers then become civilly liable.
Many Americans are in jail resulting from hate crimes. All of them deserved an offer of psychiatric help, in the face of their escalating color-aroused behavior, before they committed crimes that harmed themselves and others. In light of the Doug Williams experience, it should be clear that a day of "sensitivity training" is not an appropriate psychiatric intervention for a student or worker who who is known to possess firearms and who has threatened to kill himself and others.
Atty. Francis L. Holland
The American Journal of Color Arousal (AMJCA)
Afrosphere Blogging Participant
Then there's a chronology of the events leading up to the nooses in the tree, i.e the overt decision to let Blacks sit under the tree and the covert white response to prevent them from doing so.
There's a discussion of what punishment would and should ensue for the three identified white student noose hangers (whose names are omitted from the FBI documents). The discussion is about whether the students will be expelled from school or merely suspended, with the FBI expressing no opinion on the matter. I believe (without remembering for sure) that the FBI reported that the students were suspended and, once the students having been thereby punished, there was nothing further for the FBI investigate in Jena, Louisiana.
Then there are some new details about the noose tree. The noose tree was the only shade tree on school grounds, according to the FBI, and it provided enough shade for five or six picnic tables underneath. So, being excluded from sitting under the noose tree meant being excluded from sitting at picnic tables and excluded from sitting in the shade. At least that's the FBI report's take on it.
In another interesting twist, there are a couple of newspaper articles in the file concerning white supremacists' responses. These white supremacist threats seemed to be taken far more seriously than anything that Blacks might do in response to the noose hanging.
Nonetheless, the FBI saw no real merit to pursuing the matter and and kicked the case over to the Bush Civil Rights Division at the Department of Justice. There, Civil Rights makes the determination that no more review or investigation is warranted, and this decision was made in 2006/early 2007, apparently BEFORE the Black kids beat the white kid up, and BEFORE the school was torched, and BEFORE 30,000 Blacks marched on Jena. Like Katrina, the Bush Administration was asleep at the wheel and unable or unwilling to see the gravity of storms even after getting storm warnings. It's also reminiscent of September 11, 2001. National security people warned Bush that an attack was imminent, so Bush went on vacation, giving the unprecedented attacks all of the attention he believed they deserved at the time.
It's really quite ironic that Jena and Katrina happened in the same state of Louisiana. In both Louisiana cases, the Bush Administration was advised well in advance that a storm was brewing, and in both Louisiana cases the Bush Administration decided to do nothing until it was too late, much to the disadvantage of the Black people (and a considerable number of white people) involved.
Interestingly, there is no mention of the Jena March or the beating of the white kid in the FBI files as released. Perhaps once the FBI and Civil Rights division decided that there was nothing worth investigating in Jena, they decided to stick to that story regardless of the facts as they evolved. The FOIA documents say virtually nothing about Black people's response to the nooses, and the FOIA documents do not, to my recollection, report contact with any specific Black people or organizations before the decision to close the case.
If anyone finds any of this new and interesting, or would like to review the documents for another perspective, I can put the most relevant documents on the Internet in PDF files and/or send them by e-mail.