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Thursday, March 5, 2015

White fear of Blacks subhumanization at the psychological level

During slavery, Black mothers were unable to save their children from the auctioneer.
Now they are unable to protect them from police.
My son went to the oral surgeon yesterday in a follow-up visit after having his wisdom teeth removed.  He informed me that the doctor was heavy handed, probing his sockets and gums harshly with his fingers in total disregard for the pain he was inflicting. Then I read the following abstract which could possibly explain what happened to my son:

"...these studies demonstrate a novel and potentially detrimental process through which Whites perceive Blacks," the above report states.  Do Whites really believe Blacks don't feel pain the same way they do or are they using this as an excuse to dehumanize us?

"There is a thin line between superhumanization and subhumanization. Both deny people's humanity. Therein lies the problem," said Adam Waytz, assistant professor of Management and Organizations at the Kellogg School of Management, in his Washington Post article referring to the racial bias of Officer Darren Wilson who killed Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. Wilson perceived Brown as superhuman/subhuman and incapable of being stopped while being hit by six bullets!

"I certainly believe the tendency to superhumanize occurs when the perceiver is anxious and experiencing the perception (or illusion) of threat," said Waytz when I asked him about the Taser death of Calvon Reid in Florida.

If African Americans are perceived as non-human or subhuman or superhuman, this may lead to non-redemptive misery inflicted on Blacks.

I talked this week to a young Black man who was walking to his car in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. and was detained by police. "The officer asked for my identification and made me sit down on the curb with my hands under me. When they checked their records and found no outstanding warrants against me, they let me go."

"Got stopped more than once by cops while I was a college student in Georgia," he said. "Yes, I've been handcuffed for no reason, and it hurts."

If Whites do not think Black mothers feel pain or are less susceptible to despair when their Black sons are killed by police or bitten by police dogs, this is a calamity. During slavery, Blacks were treated as subhuman. Many of the feelings that existed then are still prevalent today. Unfortunately, we still face similar problems, many being psychological. When someone is treated "humanely" it means they are treated with kindness, mercy, and compassion.

Do not use without permission.
Rogers 1917 book
Joel Augustus Rogers wrote about a similar concept in his 1917 novel From "Superman" to Man published in Chicago. According to Wikipedia, "The central plot revolves around a debate between a Pullman porter and a white racist Southern politician. Rogers used this debate to air many of his personal philosophies and to debunk stereotypes about black people and white racial superiority."

"Regrettable as this is, what are you going to do about it?" said the senator. "This is a free country."

"Free country! Free mischief," said the porter. In the end, Rogers lets the reader know that Blacks AND Whites are human and should be treated as such.

It's ironic that Jesus was tempted by the devil to jump from a mountain and taunted by soldiers to come down from the cross, bid to use "superhuman" powers to gain the world or save himself. Instead, he died and was risen in the minds of believers.

May God have mercy on our souls.

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