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Devastation of Black Youth

sule moyo
2003-01-01 11:53:19

Anger, confusion, depression and rage devastates Black youth

By Harry R. Davidson Ph.D.

In her interview "Racism is a Behavioral System for Survival," that appeared in the November 26, 2002 edition of The Final Call, Dr. Francis Cress Welsing, states: "I look at the system of racism having come into being consciously, because the White population recognized that they were a tiny minority, fewer than one-tenth of the people on the planet. They worked out a system for White survival."

She defines that system as racism/White supremacy. It is a system that permeates inferiority in people of color. Dr. Welsing states that we have to devise those means of behavior that are going to allow for the maximal development of the Black genetically constituted potential.

Frantz Fanon, a famous Black psychiatrist, revolutionist, and writer, focused on the racist practices of the French influence on the behavior of the oppressed Blacks. Fanon explored the psychological effects of oppression and viewed the deviance experienced by many Blacks as the result of alienation from themselves. This legacy of oppression and subjugation has not ended. Today, I speak of the "Psychodynamics of White Racism and Black Pathology."

White supremacy is the state of social abnormality that has caused generations of non-White families, communities, nations and races to be impaired. The impact is more extensive than the collective complex of individual mental disorders. My assessment is that the residual effects of the impact of racism/White supremacy are the anger, confusion, depression and rage that is devastating Black people in general and Black youth in particular.

In January of 1865, Congress passed the Thirteenth Amendment, which outlawed slavery. President Lincoln anticipated the problem of race and proposed to colonize Blacks outside the United States, as the ideal solution to the threat Blacks posed. The gradual progress achieved by Blacks resulted an increased threat to Whites, and they reacted with discrimination, harassment, intimidation, injustices and even lynching.

Blacks responded with a massive civil rights movement. The ultimate confrontation manifested in the Black revolutionary insurrections of the ?60s and ?70s. The system reacted with an all out assault on Black males, in particular, in the form of government instigated drugs, violence, massive under-education and unemployment. By 1974, the Black unemployment rate was about twice the rate of Whites. Ten years later (1984), Black males had become the largest under-educated and unemployed group and were systematically eliminated from the family. As a result, 63 percent of all Black children were being raised in households without fathers.

The underpinnings of psychosocial genocide were set in place. On May 27, 1997, Dr. Conrad Worrill, the national chairman of the National Black United Front, handed over to the United Nations charges that the U.S. Government was guilty of genocide against Blacks. This was a re-enactment of a similar 1951 campaign led by Paul Robeson and William Patterson who charged "... the oppressed Negro citizens of the United States, segregated, discriminated against and the long target of violence, suffer from genocide as the result of the consistent, conscious, unified policies of every branch of government."

The courts of the United States have consistently denied charges of racism.

The destruction of the Black family is a major strategy for the genocidal subjugation of Blacks. Seventy-five percent of all Black children born in the last two decades are likely to spend some part of their childhood with only their mothers. About 40 percent of the children who live in fatherless households have not seen their fathers in at least a-year-and-a-half, have never been in his home.

Parenting has become increasingly complex, both as a result of parents who work long hours away from the home and the ever increasing number of children being raised without fathers. If you look at any measure of child well being, you will see evidence of the impact of the absent father. Children raised without fathers are more likely to have psychological problems and are three times more likely to fail in school.

The absence of one or both parents creates insecurity and a sense of vulnerability, a sense of abandonment or neglect.

Some of the issues underlying the psychosocial problems of youth include: Abandonment and neglect; single parents attempting to compensate for the absence of the other parent, who become over-protective; and premature responsibility associated with youngsters having to fend for themselves and siblings prematurely. All of these factors reduce the ability of many children to learn.

Too many students go to school angry, confused, depressed, resentful, hopeless and helpless. Acting out their rage and violence have become primary ways that they cope with and express their feelings. These problems tend to be passed from one generation to the next.

Many students who have seen another person maimed or killed or who have experienced serious threats to their security or that of a loved one suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Many have been cursed, beaten, or wounded. Incest and sexual abuse are far too common. And even if they have not been abused, many children have friends or relatives that have been. Others have older brothers, sisters or even parents incarcerated. These students are anxious, nervous, and are unable to concentrate. These students experience memory loss, restlessness, and impulsiveness. They are easily startled and are not able to express a complete thought or maintain interest in activities.

Fear and anger can cause anxiety and/or depression. Whereas, it is often assumed that students who sleep in class have stayed up to watch television, often they do not sleep to avoid recurring dreams or nightmares. For some students, school is the only psychologically-safe haven where they can sleep.

Adults, who as children suffered from the effects of dysfunctional families, have problems forming the committed relationships essential to creating and maintaining health and intact families. As a result, we will never be able to achieve significant progress unless we realize and address the full impact of the psychosocial problem we have allowed to escalate out of control and devastate our youth.

(Dr. Harry Davidson is co-chair of the Association of Black Psychologist?s Legislative Education Committee

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