What our brain takes in is very much determined by our environment. The smells that we find favorable and unfavorable are determined by our environment. The foods we find acceptable and flavorful, unacceptable and gross are very much determined by our environment. Friend, foe, safe, unsafe…are taught to each of us by our environment. The cerebellum, to the hippocampus, to the cingulated cortex. It gets locked in.
What people don’t acknowledge is that this is all of us. These learnings affect all of us. It’s just what’s put in front of our plates and how it’s introduced to each of us.
An example: I was brought in a cultural environment where dogs are for protection…not for petting, and certainly not to be in your house! Family and friends who visit are quite put-off, initially, when they see a beagle greet them at the front door. The discomfort, the fear, the anxiety are palpable. By the end of their 2-week visit, they are petting my dog. They understand that this beagle is part of my family structure. Do not, for one moment, think that they are going back home with a newly discovered urge to see dogs differently! They are not. But they are more open to the concept of a different way to see dogs. There are different realities – and more so, these different realities exist in certain environments. What does that mean? It means that if they come to America and visit your home, they will ask you if your dog is friendly. If they never had the experience of difference, they will never know difference.
Now let’s go back to our discussion.
So let’s see – – – What have we been collectively taught about this population that we call Blacks? What are these popular images? Do remember that these are images that bathe all of us!!! No one is immune.
- We have the Black athlete.
- We have the Black as comedic relief…the fool…the jester.
- We have the Black as the over-do…the one that helps us to amplify and laugh at his own.
- Black as the pimp…the overly sexual Black. The well-hung.
- The Black as the entertainer.
- Oh! How can we forget the Black as the criminal.
- The Black as the slave.
- The Black as the distressed, the poor, the destitute.
- The Black as the thug.
- The Black as the lazy, can’t read, doesn’t read.
- And finally, there is the Black as the buffoon…the Black that, because he needs to be friends with Whites to be accepted, will play the buffoon.
- One more ~ the Black as the Brown Egg!
The intellectual, the academic, the scientist, the entrepreneur, the tender, the engaging, the CEO – are rarely seen.
What’s sad is that, many times, these roles (1 – 11) become the roles of ascendancy.
You want to get ahead in life? Play this role.
You want to get paid? Play this role.
You want to be part of my social group? Play this role.
You want to feed your family or live in this fancy house? Play this role.
Discuss this blog in light of everything we’ve seen and experienced and interpreted in our limited lives to this point.
Let’s have a wonderful discussion.