First and foremost, shouts out to Bro. Michael Imhotep at the African History Network Show. His fleshing out of the psychological impact of slave – themed cinema like Django Unchained was impeccable and inspired this article. I find myself more and more frequently meditating and reflecting on the state of the media as it relates to Black men and women globally.
Slave Cinema, Jesus, and Primary School
Every day, we are portrayed as buck wild, violent, criminal, hypersexualized, and the biggest losers in American society(sideways glance to All My Babies Mammas). Reality television as a whole consistently portrays Black women as the most promiscuous or exposed members of the cast, and black men as the most hostile, most prone to violence, and the most emotionally immature of all the cast members.
5 out of 6 of the faces on local news crime reports are black – even in places where Black men and women are less than 10 percent of the total population, they still represent more than 75 percent of jail and prison populations.
Movies like the ones popularized by Tyler Perry confirms to audiences that Black women have issues heaped upon them by Black men (who are usually the movie’s antagonist), and the only salvation for the Black woman is a white or half bred knight in shining armor. This isnt always the case but the movies that become huge successes (The Blind Side, Precious, Django Unchained) follow the same pattern: Black men and women divided and saved by white power.
Rap, a bastardized form of true Hip Hop culture, constantly reinforces self hatred and damn-near sociopathic behavior, and our Black asses continue to consume said media while believing it to be harmless. Harmless, it is not. You dont realize how vile, violent, disgusting, inhumane, and destructive a song truly is until you hear a child reciting the lyrics. According to the Billboard 100, the songs and albums that currently receive the most airplay include Bandz A Make Her Dance (#10), I’m Different by 2 Chainz (#6) and Finally Rich, Chief Keef’s latest album (#10 albums).
We know that our behavior is the result of our emotions, and our emotions are the result of our thoughts. In short, our thoughts become manifest. Our thoughts become “knowledge” when reinforced by things that appear to be true.
If the “knowledge” that has been taught and reinforced via the media becomes commonly accepted by Black men, women, and children then ask; how does such knowledge influence thought? How does such knowledge influence behavior?
If a young girl is told (by the media and the examples of the women around her) that she is a sexual object, then should we be surprised when she becomes pregnant as a young teenager? Or when she contracts several STDs? Or when she walks around in public with her body exposed? Worse yet, young boys are taught to mistreat girls through the same medium.
“Dont call my phone unless you talkin about money or gettin some dick”, I overheard a child tell a female caller. The boy was no older than 14.
Whenever I mention issues like these, Black Christians eagerly interject “They need Jesus!” I disagree. How can the church help us? How has it helped us? Since the days of Reconstruction, the Christian church has been in our midst, and yet the Christian theosophy as it stands is fundamentally flawed and incompatible with Black men and women.
For example, how is the Black man perceived? Through the church, Black men and women study a Eurocentric theosophy – a white-washed religion – wherein one of the biggest “bad guys” in the ancient world was the pagan, heathen, infidel Black nation of Egypt, and the land of Ham (or the land of the Blacks) is cursed by God. So the only perception that Black Christians could possibly have concerning the Bible’s position on Black men and women is one of wickedness.
The typical unconscious Black man and woman in America has been educated in white-controlled schools where none of the curriculum consists of the glory of Africa. Instead, high school students to study British Literature and college freshmen study Philosophy as if it originated in Greece. Students are taught that the secret to success is to assimilate themselves into white school curriculum and later into the white work force in order to attain “the American dream”.
And they accept it all as truth. They honestly believe (just as they have been programmed to believe) that the American government is a good one, that whites invented medicine, philosophy, mathematics, and natural sciences, that Christianity is the only true religion, that Jesus is “the way to eternal life”, and that Africa consisted of uncivilized “booty-scratchers” until whites came along and bought the conveniences of modern civilization with them.
None of the above is anywhere close to the truth. Black men and women who believe these lies are a danger to themselves and to those of us who are conscious – awake and aware of the fact that our history was erased, our spiritual system was hijacked, and that our minds, bodies, and souls have been intentionally polluted with lies, poisons, and a morality based on foreign fairy tales.
The Pygmalion Effect
Media messages become self fulfilling prophecies: Media publicizes behavior that is rare and extreme as being the norm, society imitates that behavior, and in the end the behavior that was previously rare becomes normal and widespread. This is the whole idea behind marketing: influencing the behavior of the public in order to achieve a desired outcome.
The chart above begins at the bottom (others actions) and cycles around and around. When we allow the media to advance negative images of us, it influences our beliefs and ultimately our actions. These actions reinforce other’s beliefs about us (“Listen to their music, Bob! I told you they were ignorant savages!!”), and leads to the production of even more media like Django Unchained and 2 Chainz.
This self-fulfilling prophecy is expanded to public education as well. Black men and women who have no other education besides the one given in the public school system cannot claim that they are conscious – they have no knowledge of the true history of their peoples origins, accomplishments, or belief systems and cant possibly know the conditions that created their very DNA.
That is where sites like this one come into play. That is where movements and discussion, and Youtube videos, BlogTalk Radio shows, Black controlled private schools, communes, lectures, and workshops come in to play.
Right Knowledge Correcting Wrong Behavior
Gaining knowledge is only the first step on the path to consciousness. It’s a necessary step, but its only the beginning. A person might be able to recite the Circle Seven Koran, recite Supreme Mathematics, quote Malik, Muhammad, Garvey, and Malachi Z. York verbatim, but that doesn’t make a person “conscious”, nor can that person teach you consciousness.
What reinforces consciousness is the development of your personal past and the past of our people as a whole. Our consciousness is made up of past experiences and it changes our perception of the present as well as the future. Consciousness begins with a knowledge of the past. That includes macroscopic observations (Black History) and microscopic observations (Knowledge of Self).
This is important: Every word that you use in thought, every image that you think about has its origins in your past. You were taught that certain words mean certain things in the past. You were taught what objects are in the past, as well as what behavior is appropriate or inappropriate in the past. So if a Black man or woman here in America believes that there is no history in Africa and that his or her past began with slavery, how does such false knowledge influence thought? How does such knowledge influence behavior?
Black consciousness doesn’t end with discussions about the state of Hip Hop, movies like Django Unchained, problems with Black Youth or COINTELPRO. It begins with an understanding of our past, and our fight to bring light to the truth and speak that truth to power. The path to consciousness can be talked about, but consciousness cannot be achieved unless we walk the path, surmount the obstacles on that path, and protect and defend ourselves against those influences that would jeopardize our progress