Black in America--A White Man's Prescription for Righting the Wrong of Racism--Unraveling the Origins

Social IssuesCulture

  • Author Steve Boston
  • Published November 18, 2011
  • Word count 604

Social scientists explain the causes of racism primarily as due to environmental factors, ignorance and feelings of superiority. While these reasons may be true in one respect, they satisfy neither the intellect nor the heart. Many clues to racism can be found in the physical world of events, i.e. in the environment and the cultural constructs of our society, but the origins of it have to be uncovered where man has least wanted to look–within his or her own mind and in the beliefs that have been accepted as true for centuries by masses of people throughout the world.

For ages man, and the white race in particular has associated what he considers his primitive impulses, i.e. spontaneous sexual expression and savage behavior with his own darker nature. Black, brown and red skinned people came to represent the underside of society and the darker contents of the mind.

In modern times these beliefs still exist. While they may not be as strong as they once were, they still continue to create and perpetuate the way society looks at race and the way individuals see themselves.

In contemporary times the unconscious mind is now considered to be the repository of the unsavory impulses of man. What lurks just beneath the surface in those darker recesses of our minds, held down by the force of our conscious thoughts? What kind of uncivilized society would we become should the floodgates of the unconscious be opened? The darker elements of our nature would be unleashed and many among us would turn criminal, acting like savages in a primitive jungle.

Yet, isn’t this the picture that society has created to varying degrees? Blacks in the main are considered to be the criminal element in society acting without restraint. Not only has the white race created such a drama in the main, many in the black, brown and red communities have acquiesced to it.

WE are who we are afraid of. Stop and think for a moment. How many of us fear the contents of our own minds? We have all heard the phrase, "what evil lurks within?" Any examination of the unconscious brings fear to many. In modern psychology and religion the unconscious mind is often seen as a dungeon of the unknown–to be feared rather than viewed as a vaster area of potential growth and knowledge.

To right the wrong of racism we must look at ourselves and start to ask different questions. The ideas and beliefs that have been circulating for centuries, and for the most part have gone uncontested, must now be unraveled, exposed and examined in the light of day. If not, as a society, we will continue to create the kinds of events and experiences that the hidden ideas and beliefs mentioned in this article have perpetuated.

Our system of government has created housing projects in the past to offer affordable housing for blacks. The intent was good, but in other ways it reinforced the notion that those with darker skins must be herded together in one area for fear that black people would escape their bounds and cause destruction. Unfortunately, the prison system has now become the new "safe house" where the primitive and criminal intent of man is held at bay.

Our ideas and beliefs about ourselves create the world that we live in. It is time to put these primitive notions to rest. As a white man my identity is not defined by my race but a "white" perspective can add much to the debate and offer a prescription that is sorely needed and long overdue. Steve Boston is an author and a television producer

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