The following is an excerpt from "Black on Black Violence. The Psychodynamics of Black Self-Annihilation in Service of White Domination" by Amos Wilson. [MORE]
The Criminalization of the Black Community
A PARABLE: A man named John once owned a show dog who had won for his master many prizes, helped him to become wealthy, win the envy of his friends, and even helped to save his master's life on a number of occasions. As the vicissitudes of capitalism would have it, there came a time when there was no longer any money in the show dog business. This situation changed Master John's feelings toward his once prized possession. He could be heard often saying — "He is lazy, a good-for-nothing cur. All he wants to do is just lie around and eat-up my food. I wish he'd just go away." Filled with hatred and resentment, Master John, by various cruel and ingenious means, drove his dog rabidly mad.
One day as fate would deign it, the mad dog attempted to attack its master. Master John felled him with a single shot from his elephant gun. Because there was a law against shooting dogs Master John was tried before a jury of his peers. Master John as represented by his lawyer pleaded self-defense — "It is cut and dried," his lawyer exhorted! "The dog was mad and in his madness he sought to attack his master, who in self-defense, shot him. His driving the dog mad and thus allegedly having precipitated the dog's attack as argued by the prosecutor is irrelevant and immaterial! Has not a man the right of self-defense? Besides, he was only a dog prone by dog-nature to go mad. Had he not been a dog he would not have been driven mad in the first place! For, if his master had not shot him the dog would have lived to attack one of us, our wives, our elders, our fair-haired little children. What does it matter how he became mad? What does it matter if one mad dog is no longer disturbing the peace and posing a threat to law and order? Master John did the world a favor. For that we should honor him, not persecute him." The jury of his peers found him not guilty.
Thus began the strange career of Master John whose single-minded purpose in life became that of breeding mad dogs and executing them in self-defense. He thereby gained great reputation and honored status among his neighbors who he protected from mad dogs running loose in the streets. He became an expert at breeding, apprehending, and executing mad dogs. To increase yield and therewith his remuneration — for this was by now a very lucrative business — he penned his trained mad dogs in with the not-so-mad dogs, many of whom themselves became mad and in escaping their confines, threatened the peace. Mad dogs were everywhere. The neighbors in their fear and terror became incapable of distinguishing the mad dogs from the not-so-mad dogs. All dogs, even the ones who were "members of the family" — even Cassie, the model dog, who everyone thought was near-human — aroused their suspicions. Thus as a preventative measure the village was lamentably forced to liquidate all dogs, regardless of their social status or mental state. After all, a dog is a dog, is a dog. They even formed a society for the eradication of all dogs everywhere. That is why on any quiet night of the week you can no longer hear a single dog baying at the full moon in Canineville today.
THE CRIMINAL IS one to whom an opprobrious label has been successfully attached. Labeling not only prescribes the behavior of others toward the one labeled criminal, or only negatively seeks to characterize him. It also tends to transform his self-concept and behavior in such ways that incarnates or substantiates the criminal appellation.
If to be criminalized, especially when the objective basis for such a designation does not exist, is to be dehumanized and to be related to as such by "significant others," then the criminalization of the African American male can be arguably said to have begun with the need of White Americans to justify their enslavement of Africans, and continues concomitant with their need to capitalize on unending African politico-economic subordination.
The cursing (a form of labeling) of another is tantamount to his dehumanization. It is usually a ritualistic prelude and justification for the other's subordination, or assault, or murder of another. The criminalization of Black people, particularly of the Black male, is a prelude for the rationalization of his economic exploitation, and ultimately, a prelude to the Eurocentric murder of the African population.
The American Dilemma
In its oppression of Black America, White America faces a major dilemma. The White ruling class seeks to project a self-image and public image which are liberal and nonviolent. It wishes to assume the appearance of being faithfully committed to protecting the constitutional and civil rights guarantees of all residents — regardless of race, color, creed, or condition of previous servitude — and to be perceived by them as inherently humane. At the same time the ruling class wishes to retain its power to rule, to maintain its tremendous wealth, power, hegemony and privileges. Thus it is confronted with a major contradiction: it cannot actualize its projected image and commitments without destroying the bases of its identity and power. Since this class is not committed to its own destruction we must logically infer that its projected self-image, public image, and sociopolitical commitments are false and hypocritical. Social equality and privilege across classes and ethnocultural groups cannot exist simultaneous with White American sociopolitical and economic dominance. Class privilege and advantage require the subordination of other classes and groups. For these reasons, American institutions operate in opposition to their publicized missions when dealing with the underclasses and subordinated groups. Consequently, the major social institutions which seek to project an image of objectivity and neutrality, in actuality operate in the oppressive interests of the society's ruling groups and against the interests of its subordinate groups.
In sum, the ruling groups cannot maintain their hegemony and sustain socioeconomic inequality, which are the foundations of their regency, without perverting the ostensible missions of the society's sociopolitical institutions and utilizing them as instruments of oppression. In America this perversion must take place while the ruling groups hide their oppressive faces behind the seductive facade of democracy, liberty, equality, and brotherhood.
Hence, when we look at major American institutions relative to African Americans, we observe the following reversals: the economic system keeps them poor; the criminal justice system mediates injustice; the educational establishment creates ignorance and intellectual incompetence; the family institution breeds broken homes and "illegitimate" children; the health and welfare system catalyzes sickness and administers health-care neglect (the life-span of African Americans is actually decreasing); and the religious institutions support the immorality of racial injustice. These institutions are designed to deceive, fashioned to seem ameliorative while actually aiding and abetting the injurious exploitation of the populations they are supposedly commissioned to help. Paradoxically, they must appear to uplift while in reality maintain, and if necessary, intensify suppression.
In fact, their apparent uplifting efforts must in actuality be disguised forms of oppression and annihilation. Their ameliorative ideology and practice must be endemically opposed to the interests of the subordinate classes and groups while appearing otherwise.
In the context of the American dilemma the socioeconomic immobilization and destruction of the African American popula¬tion must occur most intensely at the very time when a minuscule segment of that population appears to be garnering increased social and political status, and when a very substantial percentage of African Americans are deceived into thinking that such increasing status is indicative of "Black progress." Racist agendas must be pressed while the dominant White groups for the most part, appear to be less overtly racist in attitude and behavior. Thus, if necessary, African American genocide must occur during the time the ruling segments of the White American citizenry seem to be relatively most committed to African American survival, upliftment, complete social, political and economic assimilation into the mythical "American mainstream."
Hence the American ruling class dilemma: How must the required oppression, and if need be, genocidal elimination of African Americans and African peoples, be accomplished by the ruling class without it appearing to have instigated and perpetu¬ated their oppression and elimination? How can African Ameri¬cans be made to suffer negation of their political, economic, social, and albeit, their biological existence, without that negation appearing to be the work of the collective White community and its allied hosts?
Practical answers to these questions require that the continu¬ing oppression and/or genocidal annihilation of the African American population by White America be accomplished through deliberate psychopolitical subterfuge, or through use of the collective ego defensive method of unconsciously programming and executing African American oppression and annihilation while consciously appearing not to do otherwise. In actuality, the collective White ego complex utilizes both methods.
Through the use of projection, reaction formation, rationaliza¬tion and other collective ego defenses, White America magically makes its genocidal destruction of the African American commu nity appear to be the result of African American selfdestruction. In reaction formation the individual, and in this instance, a collectivity, represses and retains in the subconscious undesirable impulses and attitudes, and assumes personally conscious and public attitudes and behaviors diametrically opposed to those unconscious orientations. In the practice of rationalization the individual or the collectivity, in order to prevent the conscious and public revelation and the taking of responsibility for unaccept¬able motives, concocts reasons which superficially appear to be "true" while not indeed being so. Rationalization is perhaps the most frequently used psycho-dynamic mechanism of reality distortion. Through these collective ego defense mechanisms the social, political, economic, moral and physical demise of Black America is made to appear in the collective mind of White America to be the suicidal result of alleged African American predispositions, innate inabilities, disabilities, incompetencies, venalities, and a host of other personality and collective flaws that have nothing to do with White American oppression.
The fact that motives may be denied, distorted, or submerged in the unconscious, or may be intentionally but self-servingly rationalized, does not rob them of their capacity to be actualized in reality. Unconscious programs can be, and are more often than not, methodically carried out in reality. Unconsciousness of a program merely permits its conscious agent or executive to deny its existence, intentionality, and his instrumentality. The agent in this case can, with "good conscience," deny culpability for performing an act which, if admitted, would make him justifiably subject to condemnation and penalization. The victim of the agent's activities must be blamed. To be blamed in "good conscience" by a victimizing agent, the victim ideally must, in w ay s hidden and unconscious to both perpetrator and victim, have his collective modal personality and social relations so organized and orchestrated, his history and future so distorted, his identity and sense of purpose so structured, that he comes to harbor and express apparently self-destructive and antisocial tendencies. Utilized by the White American community, ego defensive traits and tendencies are the unconscious instruments for the continuing oppression, or in the extreme, annihilation of the African American community.
To achieve "self-destruction" at the subliminal behest of White America, the African American population must be unconsciously programmed by the White American community to mount a deadly assault upon itself and annihilate itself by its own hands. Its self-annihilation must be both violent and insidious. The conscious and unconscious programming of Black America by White America also involves the organization and expression of African American behavior which is "antisocial," thereby requiring suppression by the White American police state. What better way to provoke "deadly but necessary" violence against the African American community than first to criminalize that community and then execute it for its alleged criminality?
Alienation of the African American Personality
Black-on-Black crime, with Black males acting as erstwhile suicidal, fratricidal Manchurian candidates or mercenaries who unwittingly have been recruited to execute the continuing White American hegemonic assault on the African American community, necessarily requires that their personalities be psychologically conditioned and transformed to play their "assigned" roles by the Eurocentric establishment. Moreover, it requires that these personalities be made unconsciously responsive to, and malleably compatible with, White American imperialistic needs. These robotized rangers must be extrinsically motivated by White American manufactured desires and commodities. All-in-all, in order that the African American community appear to be intrinsically incompetent, incoherent, threatening, dangerously criminal, dependent and prone to self-destruction, a sizeable segment of its population must be criminally "alienated," that is, made host to White American introjectively structured behavioral tendencies which are compatible with White American hegemonic interests.
Alienation of the African personality requires a psycho-technological creative process, a process imperial Europeans know well. The Eurocentric alienation of the captive African personality is achieved by a variety of methods, including manipulation of the African American experiential/informational context, the use of conditioning, associative learning, i.e., the reinforced associa¬tion of African cultural, ethnic and personal characteristics with other negative and undesirable characteristics. In seeking to dissociate himself from those negatively associated and falsified African images, the African American escapes and dissociates from any identification with true, positive and liberating African images which the falsified images obscure. The White American community severely punishes through social ostracism, ridicule, mockery, employment discrimination, physical assault and denial of fundamental civil rights, those African Americans who openly identify with and espouse African culture, history, values, autonomy and liberation. African Americans who demonstrate an apparent rejection of their African identity, African culture, history and values, and acknowledge their subordination to European domination, are rewarded with increased opportunities, material and social compensation, although restricted relative to White Americans. By these and other methods, the oppressed African American is alienated from the possibility of developing a functionally realistic perception of reality, knowledge of self, self-control, self-esteem, self-acceptance, positive self-feeling, ability to form affectionate and practical social relationships with other African Americans, and identification with an undistorted positive African cultural and ethnic image. The Eurocentric psychopolitical, socioeconomic domination of African peoples is founded and sustained by its historical and current perversion of these characteristics.
The Eurocentric process of alienating the collective African American personality, (i.e., making it responsively compatible with Eurocentric interests), effectively begins with Eurocentric control over African American psychoecological, psychocultural, socioeconomical, psychopolitical and bio-social existence. Euro¬centric control over conditions vital to the quality and extent of African American psychophysical existence is manipulatively utilized to falsify the African heritage, image, and characteriza¬tion. Under these circumstances Africans are either forced to identify with, or feel compelled to, compensatorily and/or dissocia-tively, escape from their negatively ascribed Africanicity by the assuming of various eurocentrically oriented alien identities. These eurocentrically introjected and motivated identities, misperceived by African Americans as representing who they innately and intrinsically are, are the instrumental psychomechanisms by which African American self-perception, personal and interpersonal relations, and collective sociopolitical goals are manipulated in favor of European domination. These identities are supremely responsive to White American programmatic input (other non-European aliens also can and do manipulatively program them to a lesser, but significant extent). They permit the White American interactive programming of the collective African American personality to the point of motivating the apparently self-mediated destruction of the African individual and communal self at the occult behest of their Eurocentric programmers.
White American Self-fulfilling Prophecies and Falsifications of the African Personality
The White American falsified African identity is introjected, actualized and interactively programmed within the body and ego complex of the collective African personality principally by means of projective self-fulfilling processes. White American projectively-based exploitation of African Americans would not be psychodynamically successful if the exploited African ego complex could present an effectively opposing set of cognitive, personal, and behavioral characteristics which would belie them. In order for the White American exploitation of African Americans to achieve psychodynamic and material success, it is necessary that eurocentrically falsified images, thoughts and behavioral orientations be actualized in the collective African American psyche. This actualized projection is utilized by the White American ruling class complex to exploitatively influence and shape collective African American cognitive styles, physiological and spiritual functionality, self-perception, perception of reality, social relations, experiential history, and appetitive strivings.
Paraphrasing the leading quotation at the beginning of this chapter, one may define a self-fulfilling prophecy as a projective assumption or prediction which, as a result of having been authoritatively projected, causes the projected assumption or prediction to be realized, thereby confirming its own "accuracy." The projective self-fulfilling prophecy becomes fulfilled because the act of prophesying itself prescribes actions on the part of the prophet who creates and sustains the conditions necessary to bring into being the expected event; because actions on the part of the projecting party create and sustain a conditioned reality which would not have arisen had not the prophecy been made in the first place. Thus, the projective prophecy dynamically produces its own reality, actuality and "truth." This conditioned reality is channelized, created, formed and bounded by a set of projectively organized and regulated actions and interactions on the part of the projecting party. That is, the prophet or projecting party first makes a prediction or expresses an expectation regarding his target person or group. If powerful, he then arranges the life conditions and experiences of his target, in accordance with his predictions and expectations. The target, in adapting to the conditions or relations imposed on him by the prophet or projecting party, and in reacting emotionally to those conditions, is often conditioned and shaped to think and behave in ways compatible with the power interests of the projecting party. Additionally, the target's character and personality, his thinking and emotional orientations and abilities, reflect the conditioning imposed on him by the projecting party or prophet. Hence, the target fulfills the initial predictions or prophecies of the projectionist.
Internalization of White Racism by African Americans
The Eurocentric projective self-fulfilling prophecy can only be actualized with the unwitting collusive participation of its intended victim, the African American population. The introj-ection of eurocentrically falsified African images into the collective African American personality can only occur when African Americans themselves accept those falsified images as fact. Only when the lie is accepted as truth, only when a false projection is seen as a fact by virtue of its having been put forth by the ultimate validators of truth and reality, the ruling White Americans, can it be internalized and utilized by targeted African Americans to accordingly structure their personalities and interpersonal relations in ways that permit White American projected expectations to fulfill themselves.
This acceptance of false images by African Americans is made all the more easy and efficient by the fact that information, whether true or untrue, is almost completely controlled and manipulated by White American academic and propaganda establishments. Information which belies the stereotypical and "accepted" views of African history and culture, which refute false perceptions of the African personality and mental capability, were and are, severely repressed by the White American psychopolitical establishment. With no alternative information readily available to it, or having such information invalidated by the White American academic establishment and press, the African American community was and is left to fall under the influence of negative Eurocentric stereotypes. Consequently, many in it seek to alienate themselves from anything African, seek to identify with White Americans and other ethnic groups. Others, by various maladjustive means, seek to escape the "curse" of being born black.
Hence, a combination of exploitative White American projec¬tive self-fulfilling prophecies and related actions relative to the African American community, in conjunction with African American credulity, actualize within the collective African American psyche a falsified and painfully negative "self-image." The identification with, or attempted avoidance of, the existence of that negative image generates and sustains a variety of maladjustive, reactionary personality/communal lifestyles and orientations which aid and abet the domination of the African American community by White Americans.
It should be noted here that the discovery of and identification with a true and positive basal African self-image is severely punished or negatively reinforced by the ruling White American establishment which recognizes that such an identification would provide a basis for the liberation of African Americans from White ruling-class control and exploitation. Additionally, such an identification with a positive African self-image by African Americans, if widespread, would challenge and very possibly overthrow the White American socioeconomic, political hegemonic establishment. Consequently, the existence and active acceptance of a basically positive and realistic African identity must be obliterated, must be associated by the White American establish¬ment with withdrawal of its paternalistic "affection" for African Americans, associated with pain and possible annihilation, thereby making movement toward such identification on the part of African Americans vulnerable to overwhelming conscious and unconscious anxiety attacks The reactionary "taking root" within the collective African American psyche of falsified personality formations or orientations supportive of its exploitative domination by others, particularly White Americans, requires that each African American internal¬izes and acts out negative attitudes toward other African Americans. The reactionary African American then becomes prone to expressing the same or similar attitudes and behaviors toward his fellow victims and himself as they are expressed toward him by his White American oppressors. At this point he identifies with his oppressor and unwittingly enters into an alliance with him to exploitatively suppress the optimal adaptive viability of his own ethnic group.
This self-alienating internalization of negative attitudes toward himself and his group and his identification with his White American oppressors by the reactionary African American, is motivated by the false assumption that his plight is caused by the "color of his skin," by his innate African-ness, and not the depravity of his oppressors. Furthermore, he believes that it is his White oppressors' attitudes toward African peoples and their apparent power to willfully abuse and exploit them that are the most salient evidence of their superiority, of their "non-niggerness" and of the "niggerness" of African peoples. Therefore he comes to believe that his own attitudinal and behavioral treatment of other Africans as they are treated by their White oppressors is evidence of his own "non-niggerness", of his own non-Africanness, which in effect makes him an ersatz or "honorary" White. While in the "average or bourgeois" African American such internalization and identification processes lead to the development of unauthentic personality formations which become the source of self-defeating self-concepts and social/communal/political relations, those African Americans who have deeply internalized Eurocentric attitudes toward themselves and others like themselves, may actualize those attitudes in the form of violent homicidal assaults on other "niggers" and/or in the form of self-destructive assaults on themselves. Thus, the violent Black criminal who attacks another Black as the result of a relatively minor incident, or when the objective basis for such an attack does not exist, is one whose internalized rage toward what he has been inductively made to perceive himself, and others like himself to be, is so intense until only violent outbursts against others perceived to belike himself can relieve the pressure. He thereby becomes the salient symbol in the White American mind of innate Black criminality and a handy vehicle for substantiating the alleged criminality of the African American community.
To summarize, internalization refers to the process whereby a subject as the result of conditioning, exposure to certain types of information, definitions and interpretations of reality, deliber¬ately restricted experiences and opportunities, observational learning and imitation, fantasies, and other incentives, as manipulated by certain influential persons or groups, comes to incorporate into his active belief, behavioral, and evaluative systems, the values; attitudes and lifestyles characteristic of such persons and groups. Negative internalization occurs when the values, mores, etc., are introjected by the internalizing subject in such ways as to cause him to behave maladaptively or self-destructively.
The internalization of values, beliefs, doctrines, and such, as represented by accepted authorities, prestigious persons and groups, is utilized by the targeted subject as a frame of reference within which he may act, expect to receive gratification, and critically judge the behavior and motivations of others as well as himself. Internalization provides the basis for the construction of the targeted subject's conscience, goals and interests, cognitive and learning styles, as well as rationalizations for his behavior toward others and himself.
Negative internalization of values, attitudes, doctrines etc., as presented by certain authority figures, even if the acceptance of such attitudes and values compels the internalizer to perceive himself negatively (e.g., a negative self-concept, low self-esteem), is more likely to occur in the situations where the internalizer is dependent on those authority figures, is paternalistically related to them, feels he needs their "love," respect, and benefi¬cence in order to secure his identity, visibility, survival and enhance his quality of life; and/or where he fears being overrun by overwhelming anxiety and personality disorganization should he lose their favor.
Under "normal circumstances" the targeted subject may enthusiastically, or through resignation or ignorance, accept and internalize the attitudes, etc., of his authority figures because of his genuine respect and love for them.
As the result of incorporating his authority figures' attitudes, etc., and successfully imitating or enhancing their behavioral characteristics, the subject may come to attain relatively high positive, though unauthentic, self-regard and "voluntarily" accept his assigned or achieved role in society. However, under "less normal" or "abnormal" circumstances the targeted subject ambivalently accepts and incorporates the attitudes as represented by his authority figures. That is, he accepts them tentatively, with severe reservations, resentment, contempt, and with intent to rebel against them. This may happen because he dislikes, fears, and/or may even detest the authority figures who represent them, dislike the ways they treat or relate to him, resent his dependence on them and yet must ostensibly obey their strictures in order to avoid punishment by them, and because he has learned or perceives no socially acceptable alternative ways of behaving. His ambivalence includes both a need for dependence (respect, love, caring, sympathy, etc.) and a need for independence (fear and/or rejection of dependence, authority, caring, sympathy, etc.).
Without socially acceptable alternatives or an effective countervailing system of values, attitudes and supporting network of social relations, however, such ambivalence may lead to conflicting or mutually nullifying motives, values and behaviors which may in turn result in apathy, indecisiveness, low frustra¬tion tolerance, lack of persistence and focus, a sense of meaning¬less and purposelessness, boredom and a related craving for excitement. Impulsiveness may result from an inability to discover any good reason to resist excitements of any kind.
The Black-on-Black criminal is one who unwittingly internal¬izes White racist attitudes, identifies them as his own and who accordingly acts them out. Possessed by unconscious self-contempt, contempt for other African Americans (as a result of his having internalized White racist attitudes and behaviors toward himself and his people) with which he is inextricably identified, and resentful of society as represented by White Americans and their submissive "nigger Toms," he becomes as it were, "a rebel without a cause." Driven by his unconscious internalization of White racist attitudes and behaviors, or his deluded acceptance of their seeming correctness, he relinquishes control over his temper, moral judgments, and sense of propor¬tions. He becomes the plaything of his impulses, raw emotions and desires. He feels compelled to perform acts the reasons for which he can only offer "lame" or transparent rationalizations, or for which he can offer no explanation except to say: "I just did it — I don't know why." "I don't mean to do it. It just happens."
Ego Defense Mechanisms
Denial and distortion are the classical categorical means, commonly referred to as ego defense mechanisms, by which an ego complex avoids unpleasant confrontations with reality, itself, and its own pathological history and current functioning. Through denial and distortion of reality and its concomitant self-deception, the collective White American ego complex rationalizes and repressively ignores its origination and sustenance by means of its enslavement, rape, robbery, and murder of captive peoples; its ruthless, unconscionable, wasteful and toxic exploitation of the land, labor, and resources of other peoples; its unwarranted wars against other nations and cultures, its exploitative instigation of wars among them; its duplicitous diplomacy and propaganda, treachery and deceit, warmongering and incitations to riot; its colonizing, neo-colonizing, terrorizing, starvation, benign and malicious neglect, usurious taxation of captive populations; its segregations, discriminations, dehumanizations, psycho-manipulations of other peoples and nations in flagrant violation of its own vaunted moral preachments; its closing of its ears to the cries of its victims; the sclerotic hardening of its psychic arteries.
By means of defensive denial and distortion, self-deception and reversal of reality, the collective Eurocentric ego complex seeks to resolve its self-created conflicts and contradictions, to avoid feelings of guilt, shame and anxiety, to neutralize negative self-perceptions, and to protect its material advantages. To these ends its victims must be blamed for their own victimization. Their suffering must be seen as reflections of their own inherent deficiencies, of their servile manifest destiny, and of their being short-changed by God and Fate.
Societal amnesia, a society's repression of the memory of the traumatic experiences which created its structure and character, is markedly typical of the collective White American ego complex. The domination of African Americans is made all the more effective and comforting to the collective White American ego if its historical and current dominative processes are kept from its own consciousness and the consciousness of the subordinate African American community. Historically embarrassing behavior, lowly and criminal origins, revelations of social iniquities and their current progeny, hidden from consciousness, permit the myth of the inherent moral, social, cultural, intellectual superiority of the White American complex to persist unchallenged, and enhances the efficiency of its exploitation of Africans at home and abroad.
Ego defense mechanisms are essentially contradictions, whether by denial, or distortion, of reality. But in the context of vast power differentials such as between parent and child, or more relevantly, between White America and Black America, these mechanisms additionally become instruments of creation. The collective personality of the African American community is to a significant extent a product of the processes of White American collective ego defensive efforts. The collective African American personality thus partially represents the incarnation of a host of collective White American ego contradictions, which are manifested as African American intra-communal, inter-personal, intra-personal conflicts and maladaptive social relations. It is out of the conflicts between conscious goals, apparently benign behavior and unconscious perfidious drives and needs, in the collective White psyche which when denied and distorted in order to defend its collective self-image, that the Black victim is born to be blamed, punished and to self-destruct. Black-on-Black crime and violence are only two of the means by which Black self-destruction becomes a form of Black American genocide by proxy.
The personal ego, in order to protect itself against what it may perceive as overwhelming shame, guilt, and anxiety, from loss of face and material advantage as the result of confronting the reality of its history and inauthenticity of its current existence, may engage in various forms of self-deception, referred to a; defense mechanisms. These mechanisms of egoistical self-protection and need-gratification can be divided into two broad categories: (1) denial; and (2) distortion. The first involves the exclusion from consciousness of painful and self-condemnatory memories, impulses, conflicts and contradictions, and certain perceptions of current reality. The second involves the self-serving mispercep-tion and misinterpretation of personal and interpersonal historical relations, personal thoughts and feelings, current and ongoing interpersonal relations and other aspects of reality. These broad categories of defense, which include some fourteen or more subcategories, are principally utilized by the personal ego in order to minimize, if not neutralize, the importance and impact of painful perceptions, as well as to avoid taking responsibility for correcting its psychopathology.
One of the most important means by which the personal ego defends itself against anxiety, very painful, unflattering though authentic self-perceptions, and protectively retains and perhaps enhances its hard-won privileges and prerogatives (secondary gains), is through activation of a subcategory of defensive denial referred to as projection. The standard textbook definition of ego defensive projection refers to it as the means by which the ego disavows or refuses to recognize its own discreditable traits and self-incriminating motives by attributing those traits and motives to others. The unwarranted attribution of its own negative characteristics and intentions to another not only serves to protect the ego's flattering self-perception, but also justifies its often negative attitudes toward, and hostile relations with, others. In this instance, perpetrator becomes victim or intended victim, and victim becomes perpetrator. A reverse psychology is achieved. The projecting ego's false self-concept and misbegotten prerogatives are conserved. Projection provides a means by which the ego can simultaneously express and disclaim its self-incriminating impulses.
Textbooks aside, we must recognize that defensive projection is a way of life, a way of being and moving in the world. Projection does not only require an attributing to, or projecting of the ego's self-incriminating characteristics on the other, but a transformation of internal, potentially disorganizing contradictions into externalized attributive images and tensions; images and tensions which serve to structurally maintain the functionally dynamic organization of the ego. To project threat is to see it reflected in the face of the projective target or person. This self-instigated reflection creates a reactive psychological experience in the projecting ego. The ego projects threats and is threatened by its own reflected projection. Yet it denies or is unaware of its projective participation and creation of the threat it perceives, and believes it to be radiating independently from the other.
Through projection, the White American community transfers or exports its external contradictions — the conflicts, self-incriminations and tensions they engender — from itself to the African American community. By this means it rids itself of certain discomforts and discontents by forcing them on the Black community and perceiving them as originating in that community. By so doing it can better deny those characteristics in itself.
The same characteristics which when they are endemic to the White community and are perceived as threatening to its equilibrium, integrity and functionality, are externalized onto the Black community through projection. Consequently, the threats that come from inside the White community are perceived as coming from the outside Black community and are therefore perceived as generated by the latter. Thus the White community makes it appear that it is threatened by a menacing Black community; an evil, criminal, Black community which jeopardizes its existence: not the evil criminal inclinations it contains within its own bosom. By compulsively defending itself against the projected "threat" the Black community represents, the White community defends itself against its own self-generated, but self-denied, threats. The White community thereby becomes blind to its own negative characteristics and the positive characteristics of its scapegoat, the Black community.
Through projection the White community seeks to transform its evil, criminal, genocidal characteristics and intentions into good, law-abiding characteristics and intentions. Thus its evil becomes good. Once it projectively criminalizes the Black community it feels free to treat it criminally. Thus, to defend its own positive self-perception against knowledge of its owncriminality, the White community must falsely accuse the Black community of criminality. For the sake of its own positive self-perception, the White community needs to perceive the Black community as criminal, whether or not such is the case.
When the projecting party or projectionist has superior influential advantages, as in the case of the White community relative to the Black community, projection becomes introjection, an act of creation, of transforming and conditioning reality. Introjection refers to the process by which the individual incorporates and accepts the prohibitions, values, attitudes, and commands of others as his own even when their acceptance and incorporation may work against his objective interests. In addition to its usual meaning, introjection as used herein refers to the process by which a more powerful party through various means, "forces" a weaker party to accept or behave in accordance with his projected values, attitudes and such. When the projectionist is the more powerful, the chief reinforcer and punisher, his projection becomes not only an instrument of ego-defensive self-deception, but also an instrument for provoking self-deception in the other, the target of his projections. The distorted reality and falsified consciousness of the projective target, through introjection, becomes the reality distortion and falsification of the consciousness of the projecting party.
The projective relations between the relatively powerful White community and relatively powerless Black community constitute an authentic process of transformational social interaction. The dominant White community, by controlling the rhythm of Black community life, controls to a significant extent the setting and experience of Black people, their self-perception and perception of reality. The dominant White community, by means of projection, acts in ways that organize the motivational systems of the Black community so that those systems are a functional reflection of the White community's psychopolitical needs. Introjective projection onto the African community occurs when that community accepts and internalizes the stereotypical characterization of itself as projected by another.
Introjective projection is accomplished when through its manipulative use of reward and punishment, control of information, definition of reality, etc., the White community inculcates in the collective personality of that community, a complementary and supportive set of values, norms, and patterns of behavior. Through the projective activities of the White community the collective character of the Black community is effectively deformed, defiled, and motivated to concretely demonstrate the characteristics stereotypically ascribed to it. By these and other means, the pathology in the White community becomes infectiously represented in the Black community.
The White American and the worldwide European ruling classes in general, refuse to accept and repent of their historical and contemporary theft of the lands, resources, and taking of the lives of their own and other peoples; their enslavement, serfdom and peonage of their own and African peoples; their colonization and rapacious exploitation of virtually all non-White peoples: their eradication of whole ethnocultural groups; their mass murder of millions of persons; their scandalization and assassination of the character of African peoples; their destruction of many of the Earth's streams, rivers, lakes, seas and oceans (ecocide); the raping and wasting of its natural treasures; their loosening of incurable diseases on vulnerable populations; their development and use of weapons of mass destruction; their assassination of national leaders, overthrow of duly elected governments and other intrigues against legitimate organizations; their warmongering and dissemination of murderous arms among nations for profit and political advantage; their addicting of whole populations to self-destructive habits, appetites and drugs; their falsification of the consciousness of the Earth's peoples, and numerous other heinous crimes against Man and Nature.
Because of their need to deny their long criminal history and contemporaneous criminality, their refusal to recognize that they pose the gravest danger to every type of life on Earth, and their need to divert theirs and the world's attention away from the facts listed above, the White American and European communities must compulsively project the alleged criminal activities in the Black community as representing the greatest danger to American society and European civilization. This White American and European projective twist of reality is designed to have the world forget that when this world is cataclysmically destroyed, it will not be caused by drug dealers, petty thieves, muggers, Black-on-Black criminals, but will be executed by White, patriotic, highly educated and civilized scientists, law-abiding citizen soldiers, as well as cultured, well-mannered and well-behaved diplomats.
Projection is a way of seeing, of attending to the world, a way of apprehending and interpreting the world, of positioning oneself in relationship to others and the world. It is a way of being in the world which precludes seeing oneself, the other, and the world honestly and comprehensively. It precludes one from seeing himself for who he really is and from dealing honestly and justly with himself and others. Projection involves the creation of a "necessary fiction," a functional myth. It involves self-deception, distortion and denial of reality in service of supporting and maintaining ego identity, dominance and control of the self and of the environment.
Projection is the ultimate form of put-down. Through projection the projecting party demotes and degrades his projective target as he enhances his own self-perception and self-image. This maneuver permits the projecting party to think well of himself in spite of his unflattering character and morally reprehensible social behavior which maybe self-destructive, as well as destructive of others. For the projecting party, reprehensible social behavior belongs always to the other. The threat always comes from the projectively degraded other. This leaves the projecting party with a puritanical sense of ethical superiority and innocence.
The Projecting Narcissist
When used to degrade the other and elevate himself, projection becomes an adjunct to the narcissistic strivings and pretensions of the projecting party. Narcissistic strivings may also be seen as the sources for projective activities. Through projectively degrading the other, the projective narcissist devalues the standards, opinions, and personal worth of others as he overvalues his own standards, opinions, and personal worth. The narcissist feels affection only for himself, and he expects the other to hold him in the same unearned high regard and self-esteem in which he holds himself. He expects others to cater to his every whim. Others are perceived by the projecting narcissist as having been specifically created to be his servants and are therefore perceived to have no higher purpose than to oblige his comfort and welfare. They are perceived by him to be the instruments of his pleasures or displeasures. His interests take precedence over those of the projectively degraded others and his mere desire for something serves as the justification for his taking unauthorized possession of it. His right to take what he desires from others without their consent, and his expectation that he deserves special consideration from others are presumed by the projecting narcissistic party to be inalienable — to be God-given. Self-assured, self-centered, self-satisfied; proud of his often overblown achievements; preoccupied by unrelenting drives to achieve unassailable intelligence and competence, power and prestige; to maintain favorably wide differences in status and material wealth, physical beauty and apparent moral superiority; the projecting narcissist insists on his right to exploit the projectively degraded others. He may not hesitate to use cunning, and if necessary, ruthless force, to overcome anyone who dares stand between him and what he desires.
Oblivious to the fact that his behavior is unwarranted and irrational, the projecting narcissist experiences nothing but contempt and revulsion for those who fail to "respect" him or his wishes, and who may dare dispute his presumed privileges. The world revolves around the projecting narcissist and he only has affection for those who, knowing their "place," appear to be honored by his exploitative relationship to them and who seem to glory in the attention he deigns to pay them. His "love,"paternal protection and fidelity are extended only to those projectively degraded others who are obeisant, solicitous, subservient and self-effacing. The independence, equal or superior intelligence, competence and power of others are taken as personal affronts and as threatening to his security, self-confidence, self-image and social standing as well as his control of events, and are therefore the targets of the projecting narcissist's preemptive attacks.
For the projecting narcissist, interpersonal relationships are hierarchical. One is either superior or inferior; dominated or subordinated. He suspends the Golden Rule — and exempts himself from sharing with others as equals. He takes himself to be "above" the laws, conventions, ethics, mutual responsibilities which modulate, regulate and make possible harmonious reciprocal relations between persons. He may even consider himself "above" Nature and its laws as well. Nature is an instrumentality of his will and not an entity with which a relationship of reciprocity and balance must be maintained. In fact, the projecting narcissist thrives on social and natural imbalance, especially when such imbalance is perceived as supportive of his status and power advantages. He perceives such imbalance as crucial to his self-esteem and sense of security. When he perceives himself as having the advantage, he exhibits an arrogant, snobbish disdain for, and indifference to, maintaining propriety of mutually beneficial social relations.
For the projecting narcissist there are few or no permanent and deep loyalties to social and cultural values, ethical principles, individuals and/or groups. His only substantive and abiding interest is in the fulfillment of his personal interests and desires. His flagrant disregard for the humanity and human rights of his projective target is rarely attended by conscious feelings of remorse or guilt.
Under more maliciously psychopathological circumstances, the projecting narcissist peremptorily behaves in ways to defensively ward off the fancied hostility and contempt, humiliating intentions and behavior of others. The defensive reactions of others to his often unprovoked and unwarranted attacks are utilized by the projecting narcissist to rationalize and justify his initial and subsequent negative behavior towards them. Because he has "painted" his projective target with his own stereotypical image, read his own repressed motivations into the activities of the other, and if powerful enough, introjected or injected his values and behavioral orientations into the personality of his projective target, the projecting narcissist believes himself to be omniscient. He fancies himself as knowing the character and intentions of his projective target better then the latter knows himself. Therefore he needs no tangible evidence or proof of his projective target's guilt or hostile intentions. He can safely ignore evidence and telling arguments against his suspicions or stereotypical perceptions of others. If his projective target is actually not guilty of the crime or conspiracy of which he is accused by the projecting narcissist, he is still considered to be guilty of some yet-to be-discovered crime (the "fact" that his crime is undetected is considered indicative of just how slick the culprit is) and is therefore still deserving of punishment. If the narcissist's projective target has not yet committed a crime or contemplated its commission, the projecting narcissist assumes that he is surely going to do so in the future. Therefore, preventive detention or some cautionary punishment is still in order. For the projecting narcissist the projective target is born of sin, born in sin, and born to sin. He is guilty of being alive!
To reiterate, projection reflects a psychological need of the projectionist to ignore, deny, or rationalize certain of his own socially and/or personally undesirable personality/behavioral characteristics, motivations and intentions by thus attributing them to others. He may further assert that these defensively attributed characteristics, behavioral and motivational orientations, are not only endemically possessed by his projective target, but are utilized by the latter to mount hostile attacks against him. This assertion may be used by the projectionist to rationalize preemptive, ostensibly defensive, preventative, or retaliatory attacks against his projective target. Through this psychological maneuver, the attention of the projectionist and others are directed away from his faults and sly machinations and onto the alleged character, the hostile intentions and injurious behavior of the projective target.
Often the additional focus and much of the psychological resources and potential of the projective target himself may be diverted away from understanding the game to which he is subjected by his engaging in often vain attempts to defend himself against the projectionist's negative attributions. Under certain circumstances — these defensive attempts combined with powerful manipulations on the part of the projectionist — the projective target may come to actually acquire some characteristics the projectionist first falsely attributed to him. The projective target's attempts to compensatorily disprove the projectionist's stereotypical perception of him are often flattering to the projectionist's ego. They indicate the target's need for the projectionist's approval and attests to the projectionist's superiority. The projective target's need for the projectionist's approval, to buy his respect, is often used by the projectionist to his psychological and material advantage. Therefore, the more the projective target attempts to cornpensatorily gain the approval of the projectionist, the more he contributes to the power and status of the latter. The introjection of the projectionist's stereotypical expectations by the projective target, flatters the projectionist's sense of omnipotence, supports his denial of certain negative aspects of his own personality, embellishes his self-image, gives reason for his defensive dominance and disdain of the projective target. Thus, the projectionist profits from the projective target's reactionary responses to his stereotypical impositions, be they socially acceptable or reprehensible. The projective target is damned either way by the projectionist. The projectionist instigates, maintains, and is flattered by his target's neediness yet disparages him for his dependency and weakness. The projecting narcissist loves to hate his projective target. It is a hatred that makes him feel good, righteous and justified.
When the projecting narcissist of one race makes his projective target the member of another race, the essence of racism is achieved. Projection, when combined with racial narcissism where a wide power differential in racial power exists, can be the source of a broad spectrum of psychological disturbances in the personal and social relations of the projective target. Malevolent narcissistic projection is the means by which the psychopathology of the racist projectionist is transferred in an unconsciously collusive and complementary way to his projective target.
It is through the use of malevolent narcissistic projection and other adjunctive psychological, "other-offensive" and self-defensive mechanisms, conjoined with supporting attitudes and behaviors, that the psychopathology of White American racism is transferred to the Black American community. Once transferred, it takes possession of the collective African American psyche and by distorting its self-perception, self-knowledge and reality-perception, transforms it into a psychological supporting actor whose role is to aid the White American community in maintaining its oppression. Thus it acquires its capacity for self-destruction. The relationship between the White American and the African American community is that of folie 'a deux, — a shared psychosis; a form of psychopathological "contagion" in which the Black American community inversely, and against its own interests, internalizes and incorporates into its own collective personality structure the racist delusions and other psychotic patterns of the White American community.
The "Law-abiding" White Community
As implied by the previous discussion, the White American community projectively degrades the African American community in order to support its pretentiously positive and narcissistic self-image, as well as to maintain its material and psychological advantages. As is the case with the projecting narcissist, the White American community devalues the worth and humanity of the Black American community as it overvalues its own worth and humanity. Through religious propaganda, falsification of history, the misreading and misinterpretation of its economic, cultural, technological, and military achievements, the White community has suffused its collective psyche and personality with narcissistic delusions of grandeur. Believing its own religious and racist propaganda, the White community perceives itself to be a chosen people: a people whoseManifest Destiny is to rule over other peoples. It perceives itself as on the top of a cosmically designed racial color pyramid apexed by blond Aryan races, and founded on the wooly-haired black African races. In the American societal context, the White American community imported Africans to serve as its bonded servants and continues to see the African American community as playing an updated version of Black servitude. The latter community is perceived as a lower form of humanity to which the ethical, moral, legal, personal considerations, and rules of etiquette (which expectedly inhere among members of the White community) need not apply.
The White community's narcissistic projection permits it to deny that its relationship to, and treatment of, the African American community is racist and criminal, and that its criminal treatment of the Black community is to a significant extent responsible for the alleged criminality and other forms of maladaptive behavior extant in that community. Furthermore, the narcissistic self-perception of the White American community and its obsessive negative stereotyping of the African American community, permits it to be relatively "law-abiding," considerate, civil, ethical and mutually self-respecting within its own communal boundaries while not exercising the same relative to the African American community. Believing the African American community to be deserving of its contempt, believing that its exploitation of that community is not criminal but an exercise of its God-given prerogatives, the White American community perceives no contradiction in engaging in, and condoning the kind of behavior within the African American community which it condemns as criminal, and which is punitively prohibited within its own provinces. Being a law onto itself and perceiving itself and its kind as penultimately humane and civilized, the White American community narcissistically expects and demands that those it degrades, disrespects, exploits, and grievously injures in innumerable ways, treat it with respect and even affection. It chooses to define its character in terms of infra-communal relations and not in terms of its regrettable extra-communal relations, especially with the Black community. Law-abiding and honorable in its own eyes, it permits itself to perceive itself as undeservedly victimized when reactionarily assaulted or offended by its victims. Honor, in the White community, is an "honor among thieves." [MORE]