by Tom Burrell
Author of Brainwashed: Challenging the Myth of Black Inferiority
As a socially-accepted, designated observance, Black History Month rarely explores the unresolved psychic trauma that resulted from centuries of oppression, media manipulation and conditioning. Presented in “past tense,” the observance stymies true reflections of the price paid for progress.
Consider Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s “The Mis-Education of the Negro,” the 1933 landmark the
sis that addressed black inferiority conditioning. Have we truly progressed past Woodson’s description of “the Negro … taught to despise” his own race, who prefers to patronize white businesses and desires the seats of “righteousness controlled by his oppressor?”
Would Fannie Lou Hammer or Shirley Chisholm quietly condone foul-mouthed rappers surrounded by scantily-clad video vixens or black male actors dressed as obese, gun-toting grandmas or other exaggerated pathologies regurgitated in Hollywood films like “Precious?”
Would Justice Thurgood Marshall or Martin Luther King, Jr. claim “we have overcome” when confronted with media images of President Obama and LeBron James as monkeys or Tiger Woods as a sexual predator? Would Malcolm X still blame the “white devil” for the disproportionate numbers of uneducated, impoverished, unemployed or imprisoned blacks or the inexcusable number of deaths related to black-on-black homicides?