“BLACKS MUST SLAY LIE OF INFERIORITY”BY SISTER LEAH CARTER IN THE NEW HAVEN(CT) REGISTER NEWSPAPER,OCT. 18,2008

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from nhregister.com

Opinion
Blacks must slay lie of inferiority

Thursday, October 16, 2008 6:10 AM EDT
By Leah Carter

IF polls are any indication, there is a real chance Barack Obama will be elected president of the United States. On its face, this seems to suggest that America has seen the worst of its complex and painful history of racism.

A closer examination of the presidential race reveals we probably should not be patting ourselves on the back just yet. As political analyst David Gergen points out, race is still a factor and Obama’s “blackness may cost him the election.”

It is unclear which group more accurately represents contemporary America: the smiling, screaming fans proclaiming that Obama brings “change you can believe in,” or people like Bobby Lee May, the former McCain campaign chairman for Buchanan, Va., who wrote that Obama, if elected, would “hire rapper Ludacris to paint (the White House) black.”

Is the United States a country that has moved beyond racism, leaving behind a small group of reactionaries? Or are the attitudes that sanctioned slavery and Jim Crow laws still going strong and hiding beneath the surface of our society?

The answer seems to be that both are true. The United States cannot quite seem to make up its mind about race.

American blacks are making tremendous strides forward. The rest of America has progressed as well, in both attitudes and actions.

However, beneath many people’s actions and conscious thoughts lurks a deep-seated conviction that black people are inferior. They might be better at dancing, slam-dunking and avoiding skin cancer, but certainly are not as smart, hardworking or beautiful as white people.

This view may seem like a relic of ancient history, but a 2008 report on a study conducted by a Stanford University psychologist concluded that many white Americans subconsciously associate black people with apes.

The saddest part of this is that black people are not immune to this. While black Americans gain success and fortune in increasing numbers, many are simultaneously hindered by a sense of inferiority. In other words, nearly all Americans seem to believe the same lie: that black people are not as smart, valuable, capable or worthy as white people.

The lie of black inferiority was first told hundreds of years ago when Europeans decided it was profitable to colonize Africa and export its citizens for labor while declaring them less than human. It was a useful lie, and successfully instilled — so successfully that it has been propagated through generations to today.

When the U.S. Supreme Court was hearing Brown v. Board of Education, the 1954 case that ended legalized segregation in the United States, psychologist Kenneth Clark demonstrated that school segregation negatively affected black children’s image of themselves. The children thought that black dolls were ugly and dirty, and white dolls were prettier, cleaner, nicer and generally more appealing.

When a similar study was conducted just a few years ago, decades after the end of legalized segregation, the majority of black children still preferred white dolls.

The lie no longer needs to be explicitly stated. We absorb it as if from the air. It is everywhere in our society, and yet seemingly undetectable in a world in which Obama may be our next president, Oprah Winfrey is the world’s most influential media personality and Tiger Woods is the world’s most popular golfer.

Part of what makes the lie so influential is its flexibility. It can coexist with the phenomena of Obama and Winfrey. They can be seen as mere aberrations from the norm.

The result is that while black people can look around and see some blacks succeeding in America, they still find it difficult to love themselves, to believe they deserve the best life has to offer.

The New Haven-based Community Healing Network (www.communityhealingetwork.org) — launched by a group led by the Rev. Victor Rogers, rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church, and the Rev. Bonita Grubbs, director of Christian Community Action — has issued a “Call to Healing and Renewal,” declaring that the time has come to extinguish the lie of black inferiority. It wants to replace the lie with “the truth of black people’s beauty, worth, value and dignity.”

The group is calling on the black community to build a movement for emotional emancipation — for freedom not only in body, but also in mind and in spirit.

The group is starting annual Community Healing Days on the third weekend of every October, starting this year on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, to focus the black community on healing the lie of black inferiority.

The goal is to encourage blacks to take special care of themselves and each other on these days. The hope is that the celebration will continue past the weekend, until the day when black children everywhere believe that they are just as smart, strong, capable and worthy as other children. If the work of the Community Healing Network succeeds, as I believe it will, that wonderful day will come sooner rather than later.

Leah Carter is a volunteer with the Community Healing Network. Readers may write her in care of the Register, 40 Sargent Drive, New Haven 06511. Her e-mail address is leahcacarter@gmail.com.

Comments
The following are comments from the readers. In no way do they represent the view of nhregister.com.

Bill wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:38 AM:

” Leah Carter is absolutely right. The democrat party is guilty of fostering the idea that somehow blacks are inferior. They insist that they cannot make it on their own, they need affirmative action, and handouts. The democrats insist that blacks need a boost up while other minorities many of them just a dark skinned or darker than American blacks come to this country and succeed in record numbers in spite of perceived racism. They don’t know that they cannot succeed so they do. ”

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History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 4:24 PM:

My father grew up in a time when black folks were beaten – by uniformed police officers, in the open – on the way to the polls, and small black children had to be escorted to school by the national guard to protect them from enraged citizens. This was ONE GENERATION AGO. You think this has no historical reverberations? You think it’s reasonable for black folks to disregard the experiences of thier parents and grandparents? You think ‘the inferiority complex’ comes from Jesse Jackson and Al Sharpton?

There is a reasonable difference of opinion about how to heal these wounds; niether of you contributed anything worthwhile to that debate. ”

History wrote on Oct 16, 2008 10:12 PM:

” “History is just that. History.”

Let’s talk specifically of Connecticut. This state has the unfortunate distinction of having one of the highest achievement gaps in the country, meaning that poor and minority students perform well below the levels of their wealthier collegues (for more on this, see conncan.org). There are lots of reasons for this, but surely we can agree that history is one of them, that there is a strong link between generations of slavery, housing discrimination, instititionalized racism, etc, and the poverty that many black families face today.

Having said that, I do believe we should ask ourselves if affirmative action is an appropriate way to attempt to right this historical wrong. Like you, I feel that a healthy debate is a good thing – it helps us flesh out our positions and fortify our thinking. But part of that debate is acknowledging the tenacious legacy of racial discrimination in this country without placing the blame solely on the Jacksons and Sharptons. If nothing else, that’s an insult to black agency and intelligence, to say that black folks can’t analyze what comes out of Al Sharpton’s mouth the same way you can, and separate the bad ideas from the good. It would be like blaming crimes committed by Italian-Americans on The Sopranos, which is absurd.

“race-baiting opportunists”

I’m surprised to see that your list of “race-baiting opportunists” includes only the Sharptons and Jacksons of the world. Would you agree with me that the Strom Thurmonds, Robert Byrds, and David Dukes of the world are also “race-baiting opportunists?” If so, do they bear no responsibility for their own negative messages?

“I’m not hearing it from the leaders of today’s black community.”

Maybe you aren’t familiar with Dr. Cornel West, or didn’t hear Senator Obama’s Father’s Day Speech – those are two outstanding examples of positive black leaders recognizing history while speaking hard truths to the African-American community. There’s lots, lots more of that out there.

“The ugly crutch of history”

Again, I’m not saying that we should use history as a crutch. I’m saying that we need to give history its due, and that any debate about affirmative action or perceptions of black ‘inferiority’ needs to start with a recognition of the lasting legacy of that history. ”

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Michael wrote on Oct 17, 2008 2:39 AM:

” “Ed” said:We need more messages like that of Dr. King.

I agree; in particular I think a lot of people need to hear what Dr King said, in particular
A society that has done something special against the Negro for hundreds of years must now do something special for him, to equip him to compete on a just and equal basis.

If a city has a 30% Negro population, then it is logical to assume that Negroes should have at least 30% of the jobs in any particular company, and jobs in all categories rather than only in menial areas.

No amount of gold could provide an adequate compensation for the exploitation and humiliation of the Negro in America down through the centuries…Yet a price can be placed on unpaid wages. The ancient common law has always provided a remedy for the appropriation of a the labor of one human being by another. This law should be made to apply for American Negroes. The payment should be in the form of a massive program by the government of special, compensatory measures which could be regarded as a settlement in accordance with the accepted practice of common law.

…and …

[…] our nation was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race

You can either disagree with King (which is not necessarily a bad thing, because an appeal to authority is not a conclusive argument), or agree with him and cite him to get respect for your own position, but don’t cite him to oppose things he supported, to whit affirmative action, particularly using racial quotas if need be, reparations for slave descendants, and a clear-eyed view of the original sins of our nation. ”

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10 Responses to ““BLACKS MUST SLAY LIE OF INFERIORITY”BY SISTER LEAH CARTER IN THE NEW HAVEN(CT) REGISTER NEWSPAPER,OCT. 18,2008”

  1. kate Says:

    Hi. It’s really nice to know that the ancient Egyptians were black. But what bothers me is that these ancient Egyptians weren’t full blooded African, they were Ethiopians with Arabian blood. Most of the ancient Egyptian artifacts have brown skin. The full blooded Africans, who I would call someone like the Nubians, had black skin, that’s why they were called black people, duh! Also, the features of these ancient Egyptian artifacts have different facial features than the pure full blooded African. The Ethiopians have pointy noses like the Arabians, whereas the full blooded Nubian Africans have flat noses. I haven’t seen one ancient artifact with dark black skin with flat noses. The only dark black artifacts there is of ancient Egyptians, have pointy noses, which indicates these were the Ethiopians. Ethiopians have dark black skin like the full blooded Africans, but one thing they can’t hide is their Arabian features. I just wish there were also full blooded pure Africans who weren’t mixed like the Ethiopians, who were ancient Egyptains too.

  2. creestiivo Says:

    hello

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