Pathologizing Blackness

Thanks Ankhesen Mié and Wise Intelligent.

Black is bad. This is the basic message white dominated societies like America, England, Australia, and South Africa have lived with and proudly advocated for many decades. Dark skin has been synonymous with any and all negative aspects of society particularly when it comes to crime and poverty. However, white dominated societies have made it their objective to turn dark skin into the symbol of many pathologies.

There are always reports regarding how black people are lagging in certain areas of prosperity while taking the lead in areas of travesty. For example, there are newly conducted statistics regarding black men and the criminal injustice system. You may have heard that more than half of the U.S. prison population is composed of black men. You may also have heard the classic belief that there are more black men in prison than they are college. And you have had people tell you that most crimes in this country are committed by black men. The singular theme within these statements, true or false, are that statistics explain it all.

Recently, you have heard the same trumpets blow when it comes to black women and relationships. 70 percent of black women are single is a familiar statistic used repeatedly within the mainstream media and the internet. Some news outlets would go out of their way to examine why this is so.  In my opinion this sounds dangerously like saying that black men are an endangered species or that black women are somehow unable to find a man.

Some reports will stoop so low as to manipulate participants and audiences, particularly those within the black community, to think that dating outside their race is the better road not taken. Thus, the message implied is that seeking white men are black women’s only hope to find happiness. And some of us will eat it up hook, line, and sinker.

Yet, no one ever asks the deeper questions: How were these stats conducted? How many within a certain group were used? What questions and methods were used? What role did society and history play in these? These and other questions must be asked before one jumps head first into conclusions. Statistics don’t tell the whole story, nor can they be reliable enough to tell the true story.

But it gets worse. Statistics, news reports, the media, and even politics are part of an ongoing operation to pathologize black people. This society will demonize and criminalize anything black people do even though that 9.995 times out of 10 people of all different backgrounds do the same things whether they are truly harmful or not while the reverse or nothing is seen when white people engage in similar acts.

Going back to the issue of black men in prison, many people will conclude that the reason they comprise of more than half of the prison population is because they’ve committed the most crimes. That’s it. No one within that thought process has it ever occurred of the treacherous War on Drugs which is wholly responsible for the influx of black men into the system. While we’re on the subject, at no point did they realize that police mostly target black communities for drugs when most drugs are found within white communities. More importantly, society can never target the origins responsible for flooding the nation with drugs in the first place.

If the subject of crime is brought up, people will associate black men with violent crime like rape and murder because something’s wrong with them. However, not only are most black men locked up for nonviolent crimes, but most violent crimes are committed by whites. Plus, the FBI’s categories of crime include many other offenses like arson, burglary, intoxication, and sexual assault, to name a few. Still, no matter how many news reports you hear about white men involved in mass shootings, murder-suicides, sexual assaults, and serial murders, some people still feel safer being around white men as opposed to black men.

But it’s not enough that society desires to barbarize blacks for crimes that people of all groups do. It will go so far as to pathologize them for no logical reason.

Looking back on black women and relationships. The mainstream media is obsessed with black women and whether or not they have a man in their lives. The question is why? Why is this a big deal to the American mainstream? Why is it their business to know how many black women are single? It’s as if they see black women as some sort of exotic creature that they know nothing about, but they feel the need to study and examine them and their mating habits using a few of them for experiments.

This aggressive need to turn blackness into pathologies can be seen in how black youth are treated. America criminalizes young blacks for almost everything they do. In school they are targeted for the smallest infractions and punished heavily. In the streets they are suspects because they are young and black. The fashion trends of black teens is seen as a crime against society.  Everywhere you go, there is push to turn young black males and females into criminals. You DO NOT see this same movement this strong against white youth. If there is, it is no where near compared to how black youth are treated.

THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING BLACK. (I’ve capitalized those words because it needs to be read and absorbed.) Having black skin doesn’t make you less than human. It’s not a badge of disgrace, nor it is a symbol of criminality, dysfunction, ugliness, or inferiority. The opposite is true for white skin. White skin doesn’t make you human or more than human. You are not naturally innocent, intelligent, honorable, beautiful, or superiority just because your skin lacks melanin, especially if you are capable of mistakes and evil like anyone else. And yes, you white folks have done some pretty evil shit.

Your skin is a part of who you are, but it doesn’t define who you are. It doesn’t make you better or worse than everyone else with different tones. The truth is this and other racist nations have created an humongous lie about skin color, and they want to maintain that lie to make sure certain people have advantages while others are left out.  Let me type this again in capitalized letters. THERE IS NOTHING – ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING BLACK, BUT THERE IS EVERYTHING WRONG WITH A SOCIETY THAT WANTS EVERYONE TO BELIEVE IT. 


22 thoughts on “Pathologizing Blackness

  1. Being a statistician to an extent, I do not believe stats when they are presented because there are a number of factors that must be considered when looking at numbers. You have to question the sample size and the demographics within it, you have to look at all kinds of variables, you have to understand the methods used…you have to look at everything in order for said stats to really have an impact. And having said that, you can make stats support whatever it is you want to say. So I’m not even trying to hear that shit because I know these “studies” are biased as hell.

    Gonna quote Eddie Murphy from Vampire in Harlem: “People (in this case, white) fear what they don’t understand and they hate what they fear.” They are not trying to understand us and they want to instill fear in the sheeple, so they used trumped-up “research” like this as propaganda. Cause hey…which of them are going to question the numbers?

    1. I can cosign with this. I’m taking actuary exams, and in the learning process, you start to see how sloppy stat. inference can ruin a story, or when people ignore things like blocking effects, outlier effects, or even street level social context, etc.

  2. brothawolf, you ask the pertinent questions: “Why is it their business to know how many black women are single?”

    But, with regard the Black women statistic, do you think that it has any merit whatsoever? In what way? I remember hearing really academic African women discuss the topic of Black singledom, but I never got the impression that they were qualified for a sample size of the Black female population. What do you think?

    1. If it does have any merit, it’s still none of society’s business especially if they jump to the usual conclusions that lead to stereotypes. For that matter, relationships shouldn’t have to be a priority for black women. Like men, women should have the option to remain single and loving it.

      1. It may not be society’s business; but African people should concern ourselves if it has any merit. We didn’t survive this long on childlessness. After how many times they have sterilized us–I’d be speaking a falsehood if I told you that I prefer singles over mothers.

        Though, between you and me, I do not think that it has any merit. I walk in our neighborhoods, and I know for a fact that these women are getting more attention than they want. I’m supplying more than enough. Plus, no sister will tell you it’s hard to get laid. None.

        I will agree with you that we need to avoid the White man’s stereotypes; but I think that there’s more than meets the eye. I am reading about our traditional relationships. It’s nothing like the European’s. And we all know that it doesn’t work for him either.

        You know what’s funny? I once read a White woman promoting interracial dating because of the lack of White men. Reading that knocked me out of my chair. I was meaning to research it; but hearing the White woman make a complaint like that said enough for me. Factor in how often White folk fail in their relationships and we get back to “Sankofa.” Know what I mean?


      2. I feel ya.

        I didn’t want black people to not have relationships, but it’s still irritating to be watched by a society whose roots made it a mention to tear apart the black family and still do so today.

        Yea, but even if we do avoid stereotypes, they will likely create another negative one. I always say that even if there are no blacks who fit their stereotypes, they will still see them as such.

        Well, white relationships failing is not seen as news worthy (unless they are famous, rich or both) or pathological. Neither is crimes by whites or violence by whites. But those issues involving blacks is just the opposite, and that’s what makes my blood boil.

      3. I think that there is a science to White racism, what I put under “Occidentalism,” and I think that you have much to teach on the matter.

        White racists have practiced their evils on themselves for many, many years. We’re taking the brunt of their mastery of their culture.

        Sometimes I get distraught with the lack of our culture; but I realize that I ought not. You supply the observations that are useful to our uplift. I only hope that our uplift is in my lifetime.

        Hotep Brother

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