Black Psychology 101: "Exploring the Anti-Black Mindset"
Mba Mbulu, Instructor
Copyright 1998, 1999 ASET, M. Mbulu All rights to everything on this web site are reserved.

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Class 2

Read the information that follows. In order to benefit the most from this course, you must constantly keep the following points in mind and refer to them frequently: (1) 50 years after the writing of Black Skin, White Masks, Black People in the United States still perceive of their potential and capabilities within an unnaturally or abnormally limited context. (2) The psychological molding of Black People predisposes the best educated among Us to be anti-Black: anti-Black nationalism, anti-Black centric, anti-Black whatever. (3) In addition to being victims of racism, Black People in the United States demonstrate all of the qualities of a people who have been victimized by colonialism.

Lesson 2 will concentrate on excerpts from Chapter 1 of Black Skin, White Masks. Think about the following issues as you study and learn.
(1) Talking "good English" is passed off as an intelligence indicator. Would your intelligence be regarded more highly if you spoke "perfect" Wolof, Kiswahili or other African language?
(2) The better one "talks," the better employment one is apt to find. What are the implications of that? Is there evidence that Black individuals would be obsessed with "talking right" even when economic opportunities were closed to them?

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Chapter 1 "The Negro and Language"

p. 17 "It is implicit that to speak is to exist absolutely for the other"
When one speaks a language, it is natural for one to exist within the context of that language. This is not true of Black People who are disproportionately proud of speaking a white language.
To exist within the context of one's native language/culture is normal, and to exist within the context of a foreign language/culture can be par for the human course, but to "exist absolutely" within the context of a foreign language/culture is evidence of an abnormality. Black individuals who place disproportionate value on a white language or are disproportionately proud of their mastery of a white language "exist absolutely" within a foreign set of parameters. They value that which is foreign, devalue that which is their own and, by extension, devalue themselves. Self devaluation impairs a person's psychological health.
Add the concept of "the other" to this state of self devaluation and the sickness assumes graver ramifications. The other, when viewed within a naturally occurring social or psychological context, represents a set of standards that you can compare to your valued set of standards. The other provides the opportunity for you to make a healthy comparison of yourself to those who are different from you, those who represent a culture that is different from the one you represent. However, "the other" as Fanon is applying it in this chapter takes on hostile political overtones. For Black People, "the other" is the master, the power holder, the conqueror--the one who represents the only real standards, the standards THAT COUNT. Within that context, a Black person is a zero. A Black person represents NOTHING-- therefore s/he has nothing of value of his/her own to compare to white people. So Black individuals seek whiteness, and COMPARE THEMSELVES TO EACH OTHER, even establish a "who is better" hierarchy, based on how close they approach the white standard. Within that context, Black psychological stability is impossible.
Because Black People play within that set of rules,
Fanon writes [p. 18] The colonized is elevated above his jungle status in proportion to his adoption of the mother country's cultural standards. The "mother country," for Black People in the United States, is white America, and language is the foremost cultural standard. To emphasize the importance of this, Fanon continues [p. 36] It is also understandable why the newcomer expresses himself only in French. It is because he wants to emphasize the rupture that has now occurred. Substitute "good English" for "French" and you have the Black person in the United States who is disproportionately hung up on how a Black person "talks." Such individuals want to emphasize their rupture with their own culture and people. They want to emphasize that they are not Black, they are simply trapped inside of a Black skin.

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