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August 97 Message
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In the book Split image: African Americans In The Mass Media, edited by Jannette L. Dates and William Barlow and published by Howard University Press in 1990, the section on Black images in advertising states, "... Most of the items featuring black people developed during the years of slavery and segregation revealed negative, racist images. Advertised products had names such as the 'Alabama Coon Jigger,' while salt and pepper shakers of black men and women with bulging eyes, thick red lips, and expressions of stupidity were popular as well. ... Popular culture, in this case advertisements, was an important vehicle for the transmission of ideologies related to black inferiority and white supremacy. ... Careful analysis of black memorabilia materials (such as these advertisements) and their sociopolitical and economic contexts underscores the fact that racism was not an isolated mistake or an aberration of the distant past, but an intrinsic feature of past and recent American cultural reality and political structure."

Black scholars, psychologists and psychiatrists are increasingly developing African-centered critiques of European and European American cultural thought and behavior. For over 25 years, Frances Cress Welsing, M.D., a Washington D.C. psychiatrist, has provoked controversy with her theories, lectures and scientific papers that reject conventional notions about the origin and perpetuation of racism/white supremacy. In 1991, Third World Press published Dr. Welsing's book The Isis Papers: The Keys To The Colors that is a collection of essays she has written over the years, including "The Cress Theory of Color-Confrontation and Racism (White Supremacy): a Psychogenetic Theory and World Outlook." In the preface to The Isis Papers, Dr. Welsing states, "The genocide [against nonwhites must be understood as a necessary tactic of a people (white) that is a minority of the world's population and that, because it lacks the genetic capacity to produce significant levels of melanin, is genetically recessive in terms of skin coloration, compared to the black, brown, red and yellow world majority. ... Most important, Black males must help one another to understand that they are being led by the dynamic of white supremacy to inflict extreme damage upon themselves, one another and ultimately the Black race."

Included among Dr. Welsing's essays is a critique of the thinking of Sigmund Freud,

"one of the acknowledged major thinkers of the white supremacy system." In the essay, Dr. Welsing examines white male fear and envy of the Black phallus and states that fear became even more pronounced - as a cultural theme - as Europeans (whites) began circumnavigating the globe in the 15th century and discovered that they were a tiny minority on a planet wherein all others had colored skins. Dr Welsing further states, "The above genetic dynamics are, of course, never discussed directly and overtly within the white supremacy system/culture. ... The full discussion, however, that continues covertly and unconsciously permeates the logic sequences with in the culture. ... White envy of the black phallus is addressed unconsciously when whites constantly concern themselves with the comparative size of the black phallus versus the size of the white phallus."

In another essay, Dr. Welsing examines guns as the critical phallic symbol in the subconscious minds of white peoples everywhere. She states that, "... The white male prefers the gun to be his phallus ... The gun then becomes the desired all-powerful phallus of the white male, which he conceives of as being an equalizer to the phallus of Black and other non-white males."

An amusing indication of the accuracy of Dr. Welsing's insight as to the workings of racism/white supremacy in relation to guns was the cover photograph on the July 7, 1997 issue of Newsweek. The cover photograph promoted the film Men In Black and depicted the character played by Will Smith with his very small gun and Tommy Lee Jones with his fully erect large GUN. Moreover, the table of contents page photograph portrays Jones displaying his long 'weapon' while Smith forlornly looks on with his hands in his pockets. The newspaper advertisements for the film also depict that Jones' GUN is significantly larger than Smith's gun.

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As amusing as decoding of the Newsweek cover gun symbols are for African American and other non white peoples, there is a very vital lesson to be learned as to the use of symbols to influence both an oppresed group's negative self perception as well as the myth of superiority of the oppressor group. Dr. Welsing has stated, "The process of decoding a power system and its culture is a necessary first step to achieve behavioral mastery over that system/culture. The attainment of such mastery is an essential step in the process of total liberation for the victims who wish to end that oppression and regain their self-respect and mental Health. Without this process of decoding, the oppressed fail to fully understand what they are dealing with; they have minimal levels of consciousness and self/group-respect, and they are, functionally speaking, mentally ill."

In our alpha Brother Anthony T. Browder's recently published book Survival strategies For Africans In America: 13 Steps To Freedom, his objective is to provide information that "… will allow us to break free of the invisible bonds of oppression designed to stymie our mental, physical, and spiritual development and to prevent us becoming self-determining people." In the sections of the book on the power of the media, self-perception and harnessing the power of information, Browder provides examples of symbol manipulation including Time's infamous cover portrayal of O. J. Simpson, Newsweek's cover portrayal of Wesley Snipes with a white actress in a way that reflects the unspoken racial and sexual hierarchy in America, Benetton's advertisement portraying a white child as good and a black child as evil (a spin on this was the recent advertisements for the film Sprung), and the Pirelli tire advertisement, shown only in Europe, that posed Carl Lewis, the Olympic track star, in the starting position wearing red high heel shoes.

Becoming aware of the use of racism/white supremacy symbols in the media - we haven't yet discussed those in religion - is the first step in seizing control your mind from those whose objective is to keep you mentally and spiritually enslaved.



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