“You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About YOU!”

This is one of the best,  most meaningful posts I have yet read.  If you don’t know, ya just don’t know.  But I hope that you who can’t believe or understand, try to recognize that which prevents you from knowing is exactly what is being discussed here;  try, try very hard to opt into the concepts, as opposed to condemning the speaker or maintaining an engraved, reflexive stance.

From my brother, Asabagna…

“Scientific and technological advances used against the greater good of humanity, reflects a society who`s technology has surpassed it`s spirituality…”

This is an axiom I meditate on frequently as I observe the so-called “clash of civilizations” between the Euro-Western world and the rest of humanity. As I read this post Lubangakene, it once again came to my mind. It reflects what I see as the relationship between “white supremacy thinking” and those of African descent in this Diaspora.

Long ago, when I had much more animosity against white people, (mellowing with age and thanks to Jesus, this hate has turned mainly to indifference), I was given a cassette with Dr. Edwin Nichols, a Black clinical psychologist, called “White Supremacy-A Paradigm”. It was based on a lecture he gave entitled: “Philosophical Aspects of Cultural Difference”, and it literally changed how I saw white people (this and my pilgrimage to the Motherland). Briefly, Dr. Nichols explained concepts and ideas about cultural differences in an axiological, epistemological and logical framework. He also utilized various historical references to highlight his points. It blew my mind! What he clarified for me simply, is how and why those of European descent, as a culture, think in a particular way. Rationality and logic is paramount in how they interact with each other, as well as other cultures, AND their logic is based on the concept of “counting” and “measuring”. Basically, if they can’t count it or measure it themselves, then it holds no value for them. They use this brand of rationality and logic to define terms for their own benefit (and take note of this), and they also will continually change definitions and/or their meanings to suit their own needs, especially when dealing with Black folks to deny us any degree of empowerment! (Isn’t it ironic that it took a clinical psychologist to explain the madness of “white supremacy thinking” for me!?)

As I read your post it re-enforced what I had learnt from Dr. Nichols. How “white people can use words, use knowledge, as a noose, as a pine box, as an electric chair to dispose of ideas that don’t agree with their precious, right-eous views!” I love your use of the difference between classical and improvisational musicians to describe white cultural perception. They certainly are not improvisational thinkers, especially since they cannot “CONTROL” it through “counting and measuring”. Rationality and logic based on counting and measuring is finite. According to Dr. Nichols, in contrast to Eurocentric culture, what is paramount to those of African descent, is not rationality and logic, but the dynamics of our relationship with others…. a relationship based somewhat on emotions, i.e. “feelings”. This is not to say that rational and logical thought is unimportant to us, on the contrary. HOWEVER it is not the primary basis of our culture. I believe that is why we rely so much on our “gut” instinct…. why we are “soul” people. That is why we know by that look, or tone of voice, or that indefinable stench in the air, when we are being disrespected, especially by white people! (As an aside, that is why the issue of using the term “nigga/nigger” for me is not an intellectual exercise. I have read your posts on the subject and on an intellectual level, I see the strength of your arguments. BUT my Black soul screams to me that it is wrong…. so it is wrong).

So Lubangakene, you and I have been blessed with the appropriate enlightenment to see what racism, aka “white supremacy thinking” truly is, and have maintained enough intellectual fortitude to fearlessly define it as: a form of mental illness. We did not deduce this solely through a process of Eurocentric intellectual analysis and definition creation, but by what we know from experience through our relationships with those so-called “white” progressive, liberals, conservatives, racists and all those in between. We know it is mental illness because we have to daily improvise through the madness so as not to become mentally ill ourselves. We know it is mental illness because we see other Blacks, our family, friends and even those in distant lands improvise against this madness for their very survival…. some successfully, most not. We know it is mental illness for history itself attests to the improvisation of our ancestors, as they continuously improvised through the madness of the slave trade, the madness of plantation life, the madness of Jim Crow, the madness of the civil rights movement, the madness of cultural genocide, the madness of the War on Drugs, the madness of the War on Poverty, the madness of the War on Crime, the madness of the War on Rap Music and the continual madness of the War for our very lives!

Finally my brother, we’ll improvise in our battle against their mental illness. You hit them high and I’ll hit them low. You hit them in the mind, with the truth of your intellect, and I’ll hit them in the soul, with the truth of my spirit. I think we’ll call it….. “therapy”.

Walk good and watch your back!

6 Responses to ““You’re So Vain, You Probably Think This Post Is About YOU!”

  1. Greetings Lubangakene! In regards to your comment on my page that when the conversation gets to this level, you notice that “you’re talking to yourself”… well, I KNOW that “they” are listening… more like “monitoring”… your/our discourse! They are reading every word. However, once you had an ally, who was willing to speak in agreement with you, then “they” went silent… strength in numbers… where 2 or 3 are gathered together and agree etc. I’ll let you in on a secret I have learnt regarding our white progressive/liberal friends… you know that they are no longer interested in what you are saying when they state this: “we’ll have to agree to disagree”. Know that you have just been dismissed!!! LOL!!! It’s not about agreeing/disagreeing… it’s about readjusting your focus to consider another point of view as (possibly) being valid, especially if it is 180% different than the one you hold. Question to you: Why are “they” quick to get offended when you don’t surrender and then state that “they” are not returning to your page because “they” don’t feel welcome?

    Your question about the perception of fighting in hockey as opposed to basketball. This contradiction stems from this discourse as you know! LOL!

    Blessings.
    Asa

  2. No doubt, Asa, no doubt. They underestimate the strength of their dis-ease…and our ability to diagnose/formulate a diagnosis. And it truly isn’t about agreeing or disagreeing, though I found myself suckered into that paradigm. It is exactly as you stated it: will you or will you not place yourself into a 180 spin and attempt to ‘see it my way.’ The answer was a resounding NO! Only Piny has attempted to maintain the conversation, though putting him or herself into that 180 spin is a huge question mark. NO matter: onward and upward. Thanks for the support and the brainfood. I’m finding myself going on an N-diet. Seeing if its like cutting out meat. I’ll keep you posted.

  3. I’ve read some of the discussion and this is just bits and pieces but wanted to say hello and thank you:

    – I so appreciate the way you’re going about getting at truth here, and I totally feel like you are onto something huge and crucial and true.

    – It’s also interesting to me to see the reaction of many (all?) of the white people who commented on this idea here in your blog. It makes sense to me that this reaction means there’s something seriously important/true in what you are trying to get at. (Also, it was just — I don’t have the word, just argh! — to see how even in the place where you asked specifically for comments from black people, most of the comments were from white people arguing with you!)

    – Your identification of “White Women’s Syndrome” type dynamic coming into play crystallized something I felt last week when I came across this discussion somewhere, can’t remember if it was your previous blog or where, but I had this icky feeling about the dynamic and you just pinned it right down here!

    – I feel that there is so totally a vivid intense “tone quality” of insanity/mental illness to white supremacy thinking and action, to the whole Euro-white cultural system and the behaviors that flow from it. I feel there is a visceral truth in what you’re working out and seeing here.

    – I’m white.

    – Did I say thank you? Thank you.

  4. Yes – it’s a great post. Mental illness comparison / paradigm / whatever, I get it: like battling someone with a mental illness, it’s true!!!

  5. P.S. I’m still under the exhausting effects of having read these threads, and also another set of threads on gender, so comments keep jumping out of me.

    On Asa’s site, Mandhisa (yes, I know she’s not your favorite, MJ, but she has a point here) cautions against characterizing non-white people as “more emotional”, etc. It’s a stereotype: “closer to the earth,” “less rational,” etc.

    If I were to make a blanket statement on this, I’d characterize POC as more objective/rational than whites. Even though many come from cultures in which intuition, empathy, etc. are valued more than they are in mainstream white culture. Maybe even because of that.

    Anyway: one of the reasons I am so fascinated with ‘race’ is that what so many white people think / say about it is so illogical. And also, the whole concept of race has come from such an irrational place, and caused so much further irrationality, that the entire ball of wax looks like … dare I say it … a large, disordered mind! (And it is quite interesting for that reason, among many others of course.)

  6. On the rationality/emotions thing: Changeseeker said it pretty well on another thread & MJ I think also: it’s not that POC are “more emotional” or something, it is that cultural systems other than the European/white one don’t split “logic” off from everything else and then value only that.

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