Tuesday, 4 October 2011

The Fallacy of Race and the Menace of Extreme Color Aroused Disorder (ECAD)

In order to understand why it is so important that we begin to accuse whites of “color-aroused antagonism” rather than “racism,” we have to examine common assumptions about “race” and “skin color” that are so deeply ingrained in our psyches that they make the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus seem just as self-evident as the NYPD and the IRS.   However, the Easter Bunny and Santa Claus are not real and neither is “race” or “race”, as we will see below.

The American Psychiatric Association is working on recognizing and dealing with “racism” as not merely a heavy weight carried by the victims, but also a heavy psychiatric weight and impairment carried by the psychiatrically ill offenders.

The problem with their approach is that science demands definitions of phenomena that we can all understand and agree upon, based on empirical data, even if we do not agree what causes those phenomena.  Over the last sixty years, we have argued in Black Studies classes and thousands  of books, as well as the editorial pages of our nation’s largest and smallest newspapers, over what constitutes “racism” and we still have achieved no general (or even intra-group) consensus. 

We really should have seen this coming.   The fact is that, based on the complete mapping of the human genome, which was completed in 2002, “race” simply does not exist as a matter of biology.  It should have been clear to us when the human genome evidence was announced in 2002 that, in our society, “race” is the most ubiquitous “scientific” concept which has no basis whatsoever in science.
 “Skin color” exists as surely as paint colors do, and this is fact is easily proved with a variety of scientific instruments, like the Konica Minolta “SpectraMagic™NX” which “makes it easy to inspect and control colour.”  Konica Minolta claims that:

To improve general knowledge on colour basics and colour measurement technology, for beginners as well as experts, SpectraMagic™NX comes with a unique online tutorial from Konica Minolta's award winning booklet "Precise Color Communications", explaining important topics such as colour basics, chromatic systems, tolerance settings, standard illuminations and suitable measuring geometry's.

In other words, skin color like the color of everything else in our environment, is a matter amenable to scientific study.    To those who say that “race is real,” I say, ‘Yes, skin color and relationships based on skin color are real.’   But, biological “race” is not real, as the following irrefutable scientific evidence has shown. 

"DNA studies do not indicate that separate classifiable subspecies (races) exist within modern humans. While different genes for physical traits such as skin and hair color can be identified between individuals, no consistent patterns of genes across the human genome exist to distinguish one race from another. There also is no genetic basis for divisions of human ethnicity. People who have lived in the same geographic region for many generations may have some alleles in common, but no allele will be found in all members of one population and in no members of any other."

In other words, the Human Genome Project has proven that, as a matter of scientific fact, that which we call "race" does not exist as a matter of biology, and so all references to "race" are references to a fallacy.
 There is no genetic data that all Black people have and no white people have, and there is likewise no genetic coding that all white people have but which no Black people have.  There is no reliable and meaningful genetic difference between whites, Blacks and others that would support the belief that there are separate species or subspecies of human beings.  Although it seemed simple back in 1950 to conflate skin color with “race”, there simply is no way to predict all or most of the differences that will be found in our genes based on our skin color.

The truth is that the term “race” was invented as a propaganda tool by white imperialist slave traders some 400 years ago, and Blacks have “internalized the oppressor” by accepting that we are from a different (and necessarily lesser) species than white people.  

Let us be honest and logical:  Once you have convinced white and Black people that we are from different species, will it ever be possible for either whites or Blacks to believe that these species are “separate but equal”?  Of you cannot!  Once you concede that you are from a different species than whites, you have given them and yourself the pseudo-genetic club with which you will eternally be beaten over the head and in the groin and breasts.  

We see it every day in the United States when newspapers demand to know whether a Black man’s “race” will prevent him from winning the Republican presidential nomination “race.”  When you frame the question that way, it does seem entirely unlikely that white Republicans will vote for someone from a different species or subspecies to be president of the United States.  We all believe that humans are more important than other species.  However, not all of us agree that Blacks are part of the same human species as whites, and so our relative importance and potential accomplishments are always in doubt.

Will his “race” hurt his “race,” and will his “race” support his “race?”  His race will be a key factor in the race if they vote in the Republican race, says race expert, Professor Rayce Race.   Yes, it also becomes apparent how ridiculously confusing it is to use the same word, “race,” to mean three different things in one paragraph.   These term “race” cannot be disambiguated from the term “race,” because these words have been used interchangeably and  overlapping throughout sixty years of arguments about these two concepts that are both referred to by the same name.  When we insist on rampant and often intentional ambiguity, we ought not be surprised when we cannot agree with others, or among ourselves, about the most basic aspects of the question at hand. 

Look at the question from a linguistic standpoint.  A “socialist” is someone who believes in and promotes the social ownership, use of and benefit from property.   A “communist” is someone who believes in and promotes the belief in the value of communism.  Likewise, a “racist” is someone who believes in and promotes the belief in “race.”   

That last group includes a lot of whites, but it also includes at least half of the Black people who blog and write newspaper articles.  They prefer to say that someone is from the “Black race” rather than state the obvious:  that person whose skin is brown is from the ‘Black skin color group.’

“Race” as a biological belief system is inherently suspect.  If the cat and dog species are segregated at the local dog pound, then why should the distinct Black and white species (races) be mixed, to be educated and worship together.   The natural conclusion to draw from a belief in separate species or subspecies based on skin color, is that each of these groups has distinct needs and capacities that should form the basis of segregation and discrimination.   

Cats get littler cages and Blacks typically work for significantly less wages, even when we perform the same functions as whites.  When we are treated differently because of our so-called “race,” it is simply the natural consequence of whites’ and Blacks’ belief that we are substantially genetically different, and surely less deserving than the self-serving white majority group that divides the American pie and all-too-often leaves us only the crumbs.  

And yet recent genetic science gives us every reason to abandon the belief that we are from separate and distinct species.  "An article called 'Race' and the Human Genome", published at Nature.Com in the "Nature Genetics," section says:

"With very rare exceptions, all of us in the US are immigrants. We bring with us a subset of genes from our homelands, and for many Americans, often first-generation but more commonly second-generation, the plural noun 'homelands' is appropriate. From this perspective, the most immediately obvious characteristic of 'race' is that describing most of us as Caucasian, Asian or African is far too simple. Despite attempts by the US Census Bureau to expand its definitions, the term 'race' does not describe most of us with the subtlety and complexity required to capture and appreciate our genetic diversity. Unfortunately, this oversimplification has had many tragic effects. Therefore, we need to start with the science . . . "

Black studies professors, and two generations of their students, will now stand forth in near-unison to insist that although “race” does not exist, it is still essential that we understand “race” and teach It to others if we are to understand American society and fight for equality.  Does anyone else perceive a contradiction here?
Of course, we all understand that “race” is a term of art within the social sciences, referring to power relationships, subjugation and marginalization.  And so, say the academics, without the word “race”, it would be impossible for us to discuss power relationships in society that are based on skin color.   

I would like to ask them, ‘Why can’t we simply call those relationships “power relationships in society based on skin color,” without dragging in the term ‘race,” which has a pre-existing definition that is based on white supremacist propaganda alone?  It is really impossible to discuss the subjugation of Blacks without using the term “race”?  Why not just say, “The subjugation of Blacks by whites based on skin color and power”?

As a matter of simple fairness, we have to acknowledge that white supremacists began to use the word “race” about four hundred years before Black sociology professors began to use the same word to mean something entirely different.  There is no practical way to disambiguate the concept of “race” from the concept of “race.”  Whenever you use the word ”race”, you may be referring to a sociological concept or a biological concept, or both, but there is no way for those who hear you using the word to understand whether you are referring to the 400 year-old definition, the sixty year-old definition, or both at once.

I have offered a relatively simple solution.  When we are profiled while driving, the police cannot see our DNA and compare it to that of whites.  What they see is our skin color, and their decisions to pursue us based on our skin color is skin color-aroused discrimination and injustice.  It has nothing whatsoever to do with 400 year old definitions of “race.”  It is based on the color spectrum and the difference between where we and whites are in that spectrum as distinguished by the color of our skin.  

 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. dreamed of a day when we would be” judged by the content of our character rather than the COLOR of our skin.”  Dr. King wrote his speeches beforehand and knew the power of words.   He said “the color of our skin” because that particular phrasing shows how petty and idiotic it is to discriminate on the basis of skin color.  Had he used the word “race” instead, we would have been back to talking about the separation of cats and dogs at the animal shelter.

This is actually a very, very important place to use terms that say precisely and only what we mean.   If I say that someone has discriminated against me “on the basis of my race”, I am implicitly conceding that I am from a separate race/subspecies that forms the basis of the discrimination.  In so doing, I compound the problem by conceding that Joe and I are from different subspecies, who CAN perhaps be treated differently based on our profound species-based differences.

The legal profession has finessed this problem successfully with the concept of “imputed race.”  Even though I don’t have a “race” that is distinct from that of my white co-workers, still my supervisor might im-put a race on me and then treat me accordingly.  Here is an example of imputed race:  A white man calls regarding a job advertisement, but he is told the job is filled because the person on the other end of the line BELIEVES that the white man is Black, based on his street address, the neighborhood he lives in, and his speech patterns.  Likewise, I am treated differently from others who have brown skin because whites cannot distinguish my speech from that of other whites and so they impute participation in the white skin color group (NOT “RACE”) to me.

When we understand that biological “race” simply does not exist, then we begin to look for language and terms that communicate the discrimination we face in our everyday lives.   The fact is that when we see our own skin color and perceive the skin color of others, we have been carefully trained to call upon color-aroused ideation, which leads to color-aroused emotion, and all too frequently leads to color-aroused behavior.  People whose minds work this way to an extent that they are severely impaired in one or more key areas of their lives suffer from Extreme Color Aroused Disorder.

As I began my book on this topic, I discussed it with a friend who has white skin here in Brazil.  She told me the story of another friend whose father disowned her because he discovered that she had a Black boyfriend.  Rather than be intimidated by her father’s color-aroused  ideation, emotion and behavior, the white woman moved in with her brown-skinned boyfriend as soon as they arrived at the same college.  The white father was livid.  When the young white woman and her Black spouse married and had a child, the white father did not go to the wedding and did not speak to his daughter for ten years . . . until he was diagnosed with cancer, his wife had died, and he had no one to take care of him.

At that point, the white father was compelled to accept the financial and personal help of his brown son-in-law.  They never discussed the issue that had kept them separated for a decade.  Instead , they discussed their common interests in soccer.  When the white-skinned father saw his grandchild for the first time, he was overcome with emotion and cried as he held her.   In those moments, he clearly saw how his Extreme Color Aroused Disorder had cheated him out of his daughter and his granddaughter for a decade, which was time that could never be recovered in the time the white father had left.

You will never hear the public discuss benign, moderate and severe racism, because racism is not a scientific field of inquiry, like stage four cancer.  Racism, we believe, is so awful that it is always at its worst, and so we refuse even to admit the idea that some cases, like the one above, are worse than others.

When we discuss color-aroused disorder, we do make reference to its severity, be it benign, moderate or severe.  Color Aroused Disorder is severe when it causes an individual to, for example:
·         Confront strangers on the street on the basis of their skin color, risking bodily harm to themselves or criminal charges against themselves;
·         Engage in any color-aroused criminal activity that risks loss of social status, liberty, family contacts, income and professional maintenance and advancement;
·         Causes a family member to reject other family members based on their interactions with people of a different skin color;
·         lose a job because of color-aroused antagonism toward co-workers, supervisors and/or those one supervises;
·         Loose opportunities to find a suitable marital partner because of color-aroused ideation, emotion and behavior, often reinforced by pressure from family, social group and others.
·         causes an employer to be subject to civil fines as a result of a worker participation in “noose-play,” color-associated epithets, and causes a hostile work environment
·         undercutting other employees in a manner that leads to decreased productivity;
·         Shoot co-workers because they interact without regard to skin color differences;
·         Be referred to “sensitivity training” because of on-the-job color-aroused antagonism toward others.

The list of ways to express Extreme Color Aroused Disorder is very long, especially compared to the paucity of psychiatric services designed to treat the disorder.  Doug Williams was a white-skinned Lockheed employee with a years-long history of antagonizing both white and brown-skinned employees, because he didn’t believe the “races” should mix.  Here it is clear that part of the ideation that led to his illness was the belief that distinct races existed in the first place.

After years of treating Doug Williams’ on-the-job color-aroused harassment of others as a mild form of color arousal, Lockheed ordered Doug Williams to participate in a sensitivity training in which he would be in close quarters with Blacks and whites from his workplace.  A psychiatrist have been brought in to screen Doug for color-aroused disorder.  Had a competent psychiatrist been involved, the doctor would quickly have realized that Doug Williams was already far too sensitive to his and others’ skin colors in his environment.  Additional “sensitivity” would be reckless and dangerous, because it could push Doug over the edge, unless it was carried out in a facility where Mr, Williams would not pose a safety risk to himself and others.

Instead, Lockheed assumed that ‘all racism is the same.’  They apparently did not consult a competent color-aroused disorder specialist psychiatrist about Doug’s color-aroused ideation (e.g. pro-segregation), and emotion (fury), and behavior (physically confronting co-workers about heterochromatic friendships).
Doug Williams entered the training session, returned to his car for his gun, and shot several co-workers, including some with white skin and some with brown skin.  Then Doug turned the weapon upon himself and committed suicide.

Extreme Color Aroused Disorder is the most dangerous both to the sufferer and to those around him.  The two cases recounted above should make it clear that color-aroused disorder is not a disorder in which there is a culprit and a victim.  An individual with Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder sometimes does as much harm to himself—professionally and personally—as he does to those whom he targets.

People with Extreme Color Aroused Disorder share many of the symptoms of people with other psychiatric illnesses, such as:
  • ·         constant alertness to color-arousing stimuli in the environment
  • ·         constant stress over the “risk” that Blacks will advance, combined sometimes with the ideation that Blacks advancement is degrades white people;
  • ·         Uncontrolled anger and fury that leads to crimes, including hate crimes, that jeopardize the victim’s liberty;
  • ·         Inability to advance in a profession, e.g. politics, because past expressions of color-aroused hatred and disrespect make the individual clearly unfit for public office;
  • ·         sociopathic lack of empathy for others based on skin color;
  • ·         Inability to see their own behavior as the source of their thinking, feeling and behavioral problems associated with skin color.
Sixty years after we began talking about “racism,” we are still debating whether a Black person can be “racist.”  Instead, we should be asking whether a Black person’s Extreme Color Aroused Disorder can render Black person’s life ineffective and unmanageable.   When I told my niece I was writing a book on this subject, she introduced me to a Black woman whose situation provided the answer quite clearly.   The woman explained that she was extremely sensitive to observing  interactions between Black men and white women.

She said that:
  • ·         Black men should go out with Black women;
  • ·         It was a personal put –down to her when she saw a Black man who had chosen a white woman instead;
  • ·         When she went to clubs, she was hyper-sensitive and hyper-vigilant to heterochromatic couples involving a Black man and a white woman;
  • ·         When she saw such couples, even though they were strangers, she felt compelled to confront the white woman and the Black man, which often lead to fights that could get her arrested, and thereby make it impossible for her to go to work;
  • ·         The issue came to dominate her life to the extent that she fought in the family home with her brown-skinned brother about his white girlfriend, and this caused a dramatic inability for her to continue her otherwise close relationship with her own brother;
  • ·         She felt low self-esteem because she was not chosen by Black men;
  • ·         Her life was in a downward spiral in which she could not control her behavior toward heterochromatic couples in public, she could not form or maintain a relationship with a Black man, and she felt lousy about her own weight and her personhood.
In this case, issues of skin color had come to dominate her life to a degree that she was imminently at risk of being arrested for her confrontations with strangers in bars and clubs.  Yes, she and people like her sometimes cause pervasive hardship for couples who do not share a skin color.  But, the obsession with this issue—the ideation, emotion and behavior—were robbing this Black woman of the quality of her own life.  She needed urgent psychiatric help from a competent, knowledgeable and experienced Color Arousal Disorder professional  in order to:

·         make herself safe from potentially dangerous  confrontations, and
·         learn to value herself regardless of what choices some Black men make, and
·         Forgive her brother for having a white girlfriend, if only to continue to have a relationship with her brother, whom she valued and with whom she lived in harmony, until he dated a white woman.

Debate this endlessly as a political issue, if you must, but also acknowledge that it can become a fundamental psychiatric issue, based on our awareness of our own skin color and our perception of the skin colors of others.    There are far too many examples of Extreme Color-Aroused Disorder leading to ruthless and notorious murders for us to continue endlessly talking about “racism” without acknowledging the daily toll that Extreme Color Aroused Disorder takes on Blacks, whites and the American “family.”

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