White people have always been found to be superior to the black people. This happened even before the American Civil War. The term white supremacy describes political ideology that supports the dominance by whites. Africa-Americans were held in chattel slavery in the larger parts of the U.S. non-white people were disenfranchised and not allowed to hold government jobs. The US Government had banned inter-racial marriages. The non-white became obstacles to economic and political progress. The desire of dominion and power is the principal cause of white supremacy. It results to violence against the non-whites.
Thesis: The battle between the black culture and the white supremacy has been psychological. The battle is in the mind and more of a cold war.
When the whites challenged the blacks, they created a mentality in the blacks of a sense of self-hatred, self-doubt, self-violence and self-destruction. The white supremacy overshadowed the black supremacy.
Black people have always viewed themselves as the marginalized group. Most of the poor people in America are blacks. Black people grow up feeling a sense of weakness compared to the white people. The black community has also occupied the most poverty stricken areas in America. This means that there is no possibility of them enjoying the rich lives. The few students that secure a position in school lack the proper driving force. They lack direction; there is no hope in their future. They cannot achieve greatness.
The white supremacy in the black people has caused them to demean and devalue themselves as less beautiful, less moral, and less intelligent. Cornel West on an interview with Tavis Smiley says that the fact that the black people have undermined themselves causes nihilism to dominate. Nihilism in this context is an attempt to view oneself as less than human, feeling of hopelessness, and loveless ness. He asks how people will get back to promoting self-respect and self-love. West here is making a crucial point and gives the basis of people's main point. Bell Hook in her video of criticism and transformation talks about the effect of critical thinking. Bell shares a thought of the stigmatization of the blacks, until the stigma became part of their heart. The sense of purpose gradually left them.
She describes how critical thinking changes lives. She says if a disadvantaged individual sets to undergo a difficult task he can find a way to do the task ahead irrespective of his disadvantage. She also illustrates that a person lacking critical thinking and has all the advantages may fail to complete the awaiting task. She says that students who join top performing schools think that they are the best students and put exceptionally high targets. They have adopted that knowledge and will carry themselves as supremely bright students. They think that they have a future for them, and they are open to embracing that future. These students have programmed their hearts to perform well in their studies. It becomes possible for them.
She compares these students with those in Harlem where most of them struggle with jobs and others have babies to look after. The difficulties in school cannot allow students to stay focused. These students do not have the bright future and hope displayed by the students going to the well performing school. She says it is not about the level of knowledge but a sense of entitlement of having a future. She hopes that the professors that tutor these students can instill the gift of critical thinking to the students he teaches. An automatically programmed student believes he can make it successfully. It reflects to their expectations and ambitions of life.
The media have also played a vital part in fueling the battle between Black Culture and the white superior. The media are responsible of informing the public about the current affairs. As a result of the reason of too much relying on the TV and newspaper, the public tends to follow and adopt what they see. In case of fashion, once a celebrity that wears new designer clothes, the public immediately adopts that style and it becomes a norm. Lately, the media have been influencing the public negatively. They bring films with scenes that show racial discrimination. It shows violence against the non-white dividing the public psychologically. The mass media continues the psychological game of displaying white supremacy all over the television until it becomes a reality. The media are responsible of all the negative publicity that teaches bad morals to the public.
Bell hooks talks about the influence that the media has over peoples’ minds. She speaks about the power of representation. She says that there is a direct link between the decisions we make and what we see in the media circles.
She gives the example of the movie Mary Clark’s Kids where a couple of white youths beat up a black boy. She calls it racial politics presented by a movie scene. The scene paints a picture of racism against the blacks. She also mentions the media coverage of what black people do to one another in African countries as Rwanda and Burundi. Once the white and non white see these, a mind of racism starts. This will cause hatred between the two groups. The white feel superior where as the African American feel inferior. Once the racial presentation enters in their minds, non-white people tend to downgrade themselves and nihilism starts.
The directors of the movies that come through the mass media use certain kinds of representation for impacts and effects. The problem is not the whole of Hollywood rather individuals who are behind the script writing and direction of the movie. Media will always control the community's imagination. There is always a conscious manipulation of the themes of the movie to the public. The theme of the movie and the role of every character will represent a certain trait in the society. Day-to-day activities and true stories inspire the movies. Teenagers and children, who watch these movies, grow up with a bad mentality of white supremacy and racialism.
West points a finger at history for the dilemmas of the Black Americans for their lack of purpose in life. He blames nihilism on white supremacy and slavery. He contends that while a black criminal is sentenced for his crimes, capitalism is the one to blame for the loss of culture and poverty causing nihilism, which in turn causes criminal behavior. As much as the above statement is debatable, it holds some truth and can be used to support my argument.
Bell, talks about popular culture affecting people’s personal lives. She illustrates this when she gives an example of her, teaching in a class where the students dreaded thinking. She gave them an assignment to watch a movie then share their ideas. This made the students participate more, for it felt much exciting and entertaining. She talks about popular culture being necessary in everyone's life. She explains how the media can paint a picture of the current society. It has an influence on people. She gives a scenario where the director of a certain movie used a black character to represent a thief. Other directors come up with scenes of racial discrimination. These images are engraved to the audience, and the audience tends to believe what they see. What we see become the “the norm” She believes that peoples future can be influenced by making decisions after critical thinking. Thinking creatively will increase chances of an individual to success. It can bring a much-needed transformation. People who think critically have the ability to find issues in life that are bringing them down, and have an opportunity to change them. Negative thinking will only bring disappointments in future.
The media can be used as a counter weapon against the negative picture it has painted on individual black people. The movie directors that choose actors have also given significant roles to black people. Actors like Samuel L. Jackson; Denzel Washington has had roles as the super heroes in the movies. The same media that are used negatively can be used to educate people. The directors should be extremely sensitive while assigning the scenes and characters. The director should avoid scenes that promote sexual violence or racism.
Sport coverage showing blacks dominating in the tracks have also shown a high black supremacy level. This will affect the white psychologically where they will realize that blacks are no longer the group that feared, rather the group that is ready to fight for its rights. The media have also shown love in the movies. Bell hook only looks at the movie scenes showing negative publicity, but the media have been used to show love and togetherness for the non-white brothers. Movies like boys and the hood’ show black people living in support of each other.
Argument 3: Nihilism has contributed to criminal behavior.
Most crimes are committed as a means to an end. Most hate crimes in the U.S. target victims on the basis of ethnicity or race. The presence of hate crimes is more against whites than there is against any other marginalized group. Jared Tylor a white nationalist working with New Century Foundation argues that blacks are more likely to commit hate crimes than whites. Ethnic and racial data must be handled with caution and is not predictive of criminal behavior.
West advocates that the guilty murderers and rapists should go to jail but, the cause of the problem should be handled. “Nihilism causes criminal behavior a threat that nourish on poverty and cultural institutions”. (Page 41)
There is always a crisis with the black and the issue of law and order. When the blacks arrived in the U.S. as slaves, they prevailed in many fields. This left many unanswered questions. The blacks do not receive equal treatment and equal protection under the law. In case of lack of protection from the government, the black suffers the most from crime. Black men are more prune to get a death sentence than white men. The blacks are in the middle of influencing the sense of democratic fairness. They are fighting for equal protection. There is an increase of the many times the race crime has been recorded. The reason behind is that people are coming forward to report incidences and immense from the police to take the accusations seriously.
The phenomena of the African American Culture and the white superiority can be equated with an effect of the psychology of African American. After the blacks were taken into slavery, a feeling of worthlessness entered the blacks and clouded their visions and dreams. Since then, most of the blacks have been self-destructing. Only when the African-American get a renewal of the mind and change the self-pity, self-hatred, self-destruction mode, will they be able to think critically. They will create a culture of self-loving and self-respect and people will not have to look down on them again. Love is the backbone of the rise of the African American.