My gut reaction to TV news images of the blond-haired Arizona governor inches away from President Obama’s face wagging her finger in abject disrespect was unadulterated, deep — real deep — anger. Where did she learn to do that? What school of manners teaches such behavior? What upbringing — indeed, what learned values — precipitate such egregious, asinine human interaction?
(By now you may have noticed that I have not used the blond-haired Arizona governor’s name. You will not see it here. She lost her humanity.)
To understand from a psychological perspective why white people, generally, have such visceral attitudes toward people of African descent, in particular, which, since the candidacy of now President Barack H. Obama has erupted full force through mass media, we have the definitive work of Dr. Gordon W. Allport to lean on.
In his widely read book, The Nature of Prejudice, psychologist Allport tells us from 1954, when the Harvard scholar’s book was first published, why the so-called race card is being so blatantly played in the age of Obama. Allport says that as young white children are learning language in the home they are also taught what he calls anti-locution, which is negative stereotypes of black people.
Allport goes on to say that this leads to avoidance where stereotypical learning manifests in physical dislike and disdain (that’s when white adolescents can be heard using the N-word).
The third stage of Allport’s analysis is discrimination. Here the learned behavior informs that blacks do not deserve the same quality of life as white people and therefore should be denied what “rightfully” belongs to white Americans.
Physical attack, Allport says, is the fourth stage of prejudice. Any type of organizing by blacks against unfairness, even the mere verbalizing of their rights as citizens of these United States of America, will ultimately be met by white violence.
Which leads to the final solution, Allport’s fifth stage, which is genocide. I’m not even going there; historical evidence is enough.
While Allport’s analysis may hold up as definitive from a psychological perspective, it is America’s historical reality that purports any and all predisposing factors undergirding white people’s general behavior towards people of African descent.
It is the very notion of American democracy that is plagued by original sins of chattel slavery and Native American genocide. The Trans-Atlantic African Slave Trade was the worst
holocaust in human history, followed by the near-destruction of the native tribes white people found here.
Irrespective of what is taught in American schools about this nation’s so-called “Founding Fathers,” understand that these same people participated in and benefited from the enslavement of our forebears. These same people who touted democracy also devised a constitution in which they accorded black people the status of part human and part property.
For those who harbor no lingering confusion about American democracy, there is clarity. They know so-called democracy was and is still meant to be a device to ensure that the riches of politics and economics remain provinces of the few. For those who believe that contradictions have to be ironed out for “democracy” to prevail for the proverbial “everyman,” there may be permanent confusion.
So economists in this “democracy” say that half of inner city youth will never find gainful employment. White people constitute 60 percent of all drug arrests but 75 percent of blacks and Latinos (those with any tinge of non-white physical characteristics) arrested for drugs go to prison. New York’s Stop and Frisk law is targeted for mass incarceration of minorities. No one on Wall Street, K Street in Washington, D.C., or anywhere else has been indicted or gone to prison for generating a near depression and taking away a windfall in profits.
While crony capitalists plunder the public purse through political resources — they “own” Congress and key government agencies through the practice of Wall Street and Capitol Hill socialism — the average American earns just $26, 353 a year. Investment banks are not too big to exist but are too big to fail. Isn’t something wrong with that?
Come November, you have a choice. Sit on your hands and do nothing or use what remains of the democratic process and let the Brother have a second term so he can turn this mother out. You know, put some capitalists in jail, bypass the do-nothing Congress, repair and rebuild some bridges, fix roads, go green energy big-time, bring manufacturing back to America, increase job training programs — you know, like that. Turn it out!
Al Calloway is a long-time journalist who began his career with the Atlanta Inquirer during the early 1960s civil rights struggle. He may be reached at Al_Calloway@verizon.net