An American Brainwashing?
Greetings to you, it is good to be with you again. After all these years, I'm still not comfortable being referred to as a "Black" person and not entirely because of skin color. I believe 30-40 million American people mistakenly refer to themselves on a daily basis as Black people. Personally, I don't believe they are accurately represented by this term. (More on that shortly) Fully 75% of African Americans in this country have at least one recent, (<200 yrs.), white or Indian ancestor. Only 25% of African Americans have only dark African blood. Over 30% have significant amounts of Caucasian and or Indian DNA. Intelligent genetic discussions and explicit programs and lectures have been produced, offered, and explanatory books have been written for the general public by scientists and educators alike. But to my knowledge no one has seriously challenged the wisdom of assigning the misnomer "Black" to such a large population of Brown to Pale complexioned people. Unbelievably, the singer "James Brown" with his (what has turned out to be the "Black National Mantra") remarkable song *Say it loud!..I'm Black and I'm proud!* had more to do with this change from identifying ourselves as "Negroes" to welcoming the "Black" phenomenon than anyone else. So the selection was a "popular" one, and not a "scientific" selection. This has not helped efforts to humanize a people that have been so unjustly treated and deliberately dehumanized throughout their history in this country. With all of the information that our most gifted "talented tenth" have supplied to everyone, with all of the articles that journalists and scientists have written on the subject, the majority of African Americans are still inaccurately represented by this current "color/race" identifier. Many are seemingly oblivious to the actual implications of this term and are satisfied with it. The educated among us most certainly know this but perhaps they don't want to get in the way of the "steam roller" that would attempt to "run them down" if they seriously tried to change this name. Many white's to this day still have difficulty believing that the African American people would allow what so many view as an obvious error in judgment to stand unopposed for this long.
The term Black does however serve one purpose that is useful to the unscrupulous. It allows the identification of any person with any dark African blood to be identified as a Black person. Obviously some very light or white looking people could not be successfully identified as African quite so readily. However, they could very easily under our current system be identified as a Black person. After all, being so-called Black doesn't necessarily mean looking African. Many whites in this country actually treat these people as if they are tainted, or contaminated by any amount of African blood, therefore they must be identified. This is done in an attempt to keep them from "mating" with unsuspecting whites. Under these unwritten rules all skin colors can fit this description by simply being called *Black*. This is the modern day American imitation of the "South African Apartheid" system. Sneaky huh? Still proud? Read on.
The ugly truth is that Caucasian people are far more aware of African American's complexion than they are. I have found that many in our scientific community and the general population as well think of our first African ancestors as being the "darkest" complexioned people in the world. That was true back then because there wasn't as yet another group with which to compare them. But they did not necessarily have to be as dark as one might think. All we do know is that they certainly were various shades of brown. All were not necessarily even dark brown. The environment could have very easily supported an entire population of brown and medium brown people. (As it does now). Darker African people evolved then as they do now. Some may have come later as the climate changed and warmed, or they may have migrated closer to the equator. But even the darker Africans were not what any scientist would seriously call *Black* in color. Actually, it's more likely that Man's first African ancestor may have indeed been "The Brown Man". There are currently far more brown people on this planet than any other skin color. (Including Africans) Remember, Egypt is also in Africa. We know that Man originated in Africa and migrated to other parts of the world. Even today, if one was to isolate a very dark, dark, brown person from direct sunlight long enough, he would eventually lose several shades of darkness and subsequently have a lighter complexion. The average American person is lighter in winter than in summer. I personally know an African family who has lost one (or more) shades of complexion while currently living in Minnesota. Other than knowing this first man wasn't Caucasian, (At this early time period they had not yet evolved, Caucasians did not appear on this planet until about 30,000 years ago In Europe) we do not know what color/shade of brown the *Original Man* actually was. Why do I care about this injustice? I believe The term Black when used to identify even one single person is either done in ignorance, or by mistake. This term/word actually means evil, both from a *Secular* and a *Religious* standpoint here's another example:
The word "White" appears 75 times in the Bible (KJV) and for the most part depicts a "Sin-less" and desired condition. The word "Black" appears in the Bible 18 times and in all but one in "The Song of Solomon" ("I am Black, but comely" which is a poem) it is indicative of a "Sin-ful" condition. I will not get into the story of the biblical character "Ham" because he has no factual relevance here. Any reference biblically or secularly to the term *White* is a reference to purity and any reference to the term *Black* generally indicates an undesirable condition. The Bible does not mention people by color or complexion. When it speaks of an African person, it refers to him as an Ethiopian. However, the meaning(s) that the word Black can imply is never the less "striking" and easily points to problems and condemnation. I'm sure that had the Prophets foreseen this kind of usage for this word, they would have spoken against using it to describe good people.
*The Term Black is associated with everything Negative*
|Secular use of the word "Black"||Religious use of the word "Black" (KJV)|
|Black Market||1Kings 18:45|
|Black Economy||Esther 1:6|
|Black Monday||Proverbs 7:9|
|Black Cloud||SoSolomon 1:5|
|Black Sin||SoSolomon 1:6|
|Black List||SoSolomon 6:11|
|Black Day||Jeremiah 8:21|
|Black Eye||Jeremiah 14:2|
|Black Sheep||Zechariah 6:6|
|Black Widow||Matthew 5:36|
|Black Deeds||Revelation 6:5|
|Black Thoughts||Revelation 6:12|
If you think I'm wrong in this assessment, please read the biblical chapters "before and after" the indicated scriptures and you will easily see that the word *Black* denotes a horrible, sinful condition. Also, I can take all 75 places in the Bible where the word "White" is mentioned and substitute the word *Good* for it without changing the meaning of the scripture. In addition, in the 18 places where the word "Black" is used, I can also substitute the word *Evil* without changing the meaning of the scripture! Just because one puts the noun "People" after the word "Black" does not change the "Black" implication or intent of its description of the noun "People". No matter what they say about the word "evolving" to mean something else, in my view and understanding of language (and I speak five of them) construction, the original meaning remains intact.
This problematic choice is aided and abetted by the unscrupulous in the "ruling class" who of course seized the opportunity to ingrain this mistaken malfeasance into our very hearts. With skillful use of all the expertise at their disposal they carefully influenced the innocent unsuspecting minority public into thinking that they had finally arrived at a level playing field as far as an indicating name was concerned. Every subtle mechanism of coercion at their disposal was used. But ultimately this in many ways always was the choice of the "ruling class". After all he is the "800 lb. Gorilla" in the room, and he will not stop using this term. Interestingly, he chose the color "White" to describe himself, which the Merriam-Webster dictionary defines as: "Free from spot or blemish, the color of new snow or milk, pure, innocent, will cause no harm, silvery, free from color, segregated, unsullied, the opposite of black, or a white person". Contrast this with the description in the same dictionary for the color Black: "Soiled as if from soot, morbid, dirty, angry, deserving of dishonor, lacking light, wicked, evil, dismal, gloomy, without hope, the opposite of white, or an African American person". Religiously or secularly I believe that the word Black was a poor choice for a "blanket" description of an entire population of 30-40 million people. If a group of "Aliens" were to pick up one of our daily newspapers, they would read that over 50% of our prisons are occupied by Blacks. 54% of all the murders, 42% of all the forcible rapes, and 59% of all robberies in this country are committed by Blacks. They would also read that Blacks make up only 13% of the total population of this country! They could very easily surmise by looking at these "startling" statistics that these Black individuals do indeed carry the right name! Some Psychologists tell us that the more an adverse description of one is constantly "bantered about", the more likely it is that an individual will adjust his behavior to "fit" the description. I must admit, this information is a bit unsettling. This small group of individuals must be committing these crimes both day and night continually to garner these kinds of statistics. But due to their circumstances, even with these offenders "Black" still misses the mark, and close only counts in "horse shoes and hand grenades".
Well, this love affair with the word "Black" phenomenon originally was more of a "retaliation" to the word "White" than it was the actual thought out and chosen identifier for 30-40 million people. For decades it was a "No-No" to call any African American the dreaded name "Black" (anything). It was one thing to be called even the "N", word but it was a fighting matter when one was called a "Black N". So James Brown came along during a revolutionary period with civil unrest, civil rights oppression, and civil riots going on in major American cities. Mr. Brown coined this "catchy phrase", "Say it Loud!..I'm Black and I'm Proud", and it stuck. In my opinion this was in part due to the restlessness of the period. The idea of blackness became the popular culture without much thought about the scope of the actual ramifications of the word. It was, in its essence "A call to arms!" And what would have been just a local "colloquialism" went Global. Back on July 7, 1985 I preached a sermon (besides being a scientist I was also an ordained Baptist Minister with a radio program titled "Message of Hope" that aired every Sunday morning for over 14 years) with this article's content in the message. The title of the sermon was: "The Word Black = Sin" This taped message was sent by me and my listening audience to many influential African American political leaders of the time. I asked for the term African American to replace the term "Black" and I told them why. It was a powerful sermon. About two weeks after these leaders received the tape; they were out in the public asking for the term "African American" is used to replace the term "Black". Within a short while the term was at what appeared to be full acceptance. You would instantly recognize these leaders because most are still on the scene today. This course of action was my idea, (the investigative work and preaching certainly was) but of course I got no public credit for it. The leaders got it all, except for a letter of commendation from the NAACP. But I at least helped to get the term "African American" out of the mud and into the public. For that I am eternally grateful. (And Proud). Today, I just want our young people to know how many in the "older" generation still feel about this issue, and why.
And so on it goes. I believe that our identity as *Black* people has gone on a bit too long to ever be reversed or easily changed now. (But one never knows). It is ingrained into our psyche. Most Whites are just as *Brainwashed* with these terms as we are, but in the opposite direction. They are in fact no closer to being white than we are to being black, and no more or less evil. However, we do value and accept the friendship and support that most of them give us. But should any of you want to attempt to try and somehow disengage or limit the usage of this term (Black) at this late time, remember, the "Thought Police" are everywhere. And they are no longer only white. They are now even among our own families and friends. One must appear to be "down with the struggle" in a certain way or be considered less than a "real brother or sister". However, history will judge the wisdom of allowing this colloquialism to ever take "root" to the extent that it has worldwide. When that happens, I hope this article will serve as a small light that some were able to see, among those that were simply ignored. Now I'm not naive about words. I know that the words "Negro and African American" are only alternate ways of saying "Black" in the minds of many, and nothing can be done about that. However, after all of the struggles that we've been through in this country from slavery to fighting and dying in most of its wars, I believe that this is the least that we can ask of our fellow Americans. I believe that the small amount of extra effort that it may take to call us "African Americans" is well deserved. If nothing more it represents us as a much more *Dignified* people than any of the confusing, demeaning former identifiers. What do you think being referred to day and night for decades by a term that represents only good and wonderful attributes does for the self esteem of "White" people? What about the self esteem of a people represented by a term that can have such "sinister" implications? In my view, there is no equality when comparing these two terms. Please remember, when all is said and done, and all of the "smoke and mirrors" has cleared, this is an issue concerning "Character and not Complexion". Have we as a people already been subconsciously, psychologically damaged by the acceptance of this word? Or are we all victims of a clever, self -perpetuating *American Brainwashing?* What do you think? Drop me a line (all races please) telling me how you feel about this issue. I will address your opinions and concerns in a future response to your comments about this article. Of course, (as always) your identity will be held in the strictest of confidence. Please feel free to share this article with your friends, politicians, and students. Stay well
"And All Too Often......"
"Hey Doc!...You see that mug shot picture over there on the wall? (The white inmate said)...No, not that one, that's a white guy!...that one there!..yeah, that's the one. That *Black* guy over there! Yeah... is he related to you Doc? Do you know him? Maybe he's your cousin right?"... "No! That's not me, and I don't know the man" (said the Doctor). "Well sorry, but how was I to know?.(said the white inmate).after all, you are both *Black* aren't you?....wait a minute (the inmate said). ..Is That one you? That one there! He sure looks like you!...What's your angle Doc? C'mon, you can tell me, I know you people, what's in all this for you?..The Doctor just shook his head, he needed to take a break. In disgust, he turned and walked out of the room.
All The Best,
- Henri W. Tartt
Henri W. Tartt
Supervising Chemist &
Chief of Microbiology
City of Cleveland, Ohio (Retired)