Hotep DVABPsi Family,
Have you taken the time to watch a sunset yet this Summer? Not while you are in transit and passing by, as while you may observe its beauty, you may miss an opportunity for insight. Do take some time while the season is warm to really sit still without any distractions and gaze at the beauty God created. From the hues of yellow and light oranges to bright oranges and then dark greys. Note that this process may be relaxing as the sunset's beauty is unparalleled. You may delight in this experience anywhere you are. Be sure to breathe and stay in the moment, monitor your thoughts as you engage with nature and the sunset and be cognizant to remain in the here and now. This experience may be restorative for your spirit and soul.
The Delaware Valley Association of Black Psychologists are here for you. Stay well and take care of yourselves and each other. We look forward to hearing from you and seeing you at our monthly meetings and Mbongi on Zoom!
Dr. Tashekah Smith
Delaware Valley Association
of Black Psychologists
"History has shown us that courage can be contagious, and hope can take on a life of its own." –Michelle Obama
Violence Breeds Violence: How Selecting Healthy Partners Can Stop the Violence, Part 2
Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, LLC
Violence is an indicator of a lack of spiritual development or an indicator of the disruption of spiritual development. The most recent June 27, 2022 assassination of Jayland Walker, a 25 year old unarmed Black man shot over 60 times by the police in Akron, Ohio, the May 24, 2022, massacre of 22 people, mostly young children while in school, that occurred in Ulvalde, Texas, and the one in Buffalo, New York on May 10, 2022, where 10 people, mostly Black, were massacred while shopping in a grocery store are the latest examples of how violence breeds violence. The USA started with violence-the invasion of this continent by people who classify themselves as white and the mass murder, rape, torture, and theft of the lands of Indigenous People by these whites. This is Part 2 in a series on how violence breeds violence, why violence is supported by the USA, how it is related to selecting healthy love partners, and how to end the violence. We have been misdirected by the focus on physical violence which is a culmination of a pattern of violent acts that elicit this observable reaction. It is important to start with a dictionary definition of violence and then examine how a society built on violence intentionally sabotages Melanics (People of Color), especially Blacks. Black love relationships are a threat to white domination and strategies, which will be examined, are in place to disrupt and prevent Blacks from establishing and maintaining healthy love relationships.
Exertion of physical force so-as-to injure or abuse
Injury by or as if by distortion
The twisting out of the true meaning or proportions
To twist out of a natural, normal, or original shape or condition
Infringement-to trespass upon in a way that violates law or the rights of another
Treating something sacred with abuse, irreverence, or contempt
Desecrate-defile, insult, damage
To debase by a wrong unworthy, or vulgar use
Understanding the forms of violence helps to identify why the physical violence is growing. Killing people, increasing the police force and locking people away will not stop the violence. Blacks and other Melanics are incarcerated to build wealth in the USA from the work of those people who are incarcerated. Slavery is legal in USA prisons according to the Constitution (U.S. Const. Amend. XIII§1) Thirteenth Amendment, Section 1: "Neither slavery nor involuntary servitude, except as a punishment for crime whereof the party shall have been duly convicted, shall exist within the United States, or. . ." We have the largest prison population in the world with 2.1 million incarcerated individuals (https://www.statista.com/statistics/262961/countries-with-the-most-prisoners/). US News reported that Blacks are incarcerated at an average of 1,240 per 100,000 residents, Latinx at a rate of 349 per 100,000 residents, but Caucasians are incarcerated at 261 per 100,000 residents. (https://www.usnews.com/news/best-states/articles/2021-10-13/report-highlights-staggering-racial-disparities-in-us-incarceration-rates#:~:text=According%20to%20the%20report%2C%20Black,at%20261%20per%20100%2C000%20residents). In 1968, the Johnson administration commissioned a study to examine how to stop the violence in the USA. The report indicated that stopping institutional racism would stop the violence.
Racism shapes who is accused of a crime, who is convicted (usually by all or predominately Caucasian juries and judges), and the rate and length of incarceration. If prisons were the answer to stopping violence, we would be the most successful country in the world. Instead, we have more mass shootings and violence than any other country in the world. Dr. Amos Wilson always urged that we ask the right questions to obtain the correct information. Who benefits from the violence in the United States of America (USA)? Who benefits from the disproportionate incarceration of Blacks? People who classify themselves as “white” are the big winners. Violence frightens the general public into demanding a police force with bigger and better guns. The propaganda describes Blacks as criminals and therefore, the most appropriate targets of police violence and incarceration.
Black males and females are removed from Black neighborhoods during the time that Black people should be working and building families. Removing (killing/imprisoning) Blacks from the opportunity to build strong families benefits Caucasians who fear Black competition and Black success. Violence makes those white people who are in power rich. Prisons generate over 74 billion dollars in revenue each year off of slave labor. (https://smartasset.com/mortgage/the-economics-of-the-american-prison-system). When people go to prison, they must labor without benefits, usually without pay. Each state has their own guidelines, but when they are paid it is usually between 12-40 cents a day! (https://www.prisonpolicy.org/reports/wage_policies.html)
The US Constitution indicates that slavery legally exists in prison. Whites never intended to end slavery. They created a “legal” way to maintain it and to increase the number of enslaved Blacks each and every year. Who are the police officers? White males and females. Who are the lawyers and District Attorneys? Who are the judges? When a Black person goes to court, he or she is surrounded by white people who have decided the guilt of the Black person before he or she entered the court. This is what Dr. Bobby Wright (1984) identified as “lynching by another name is still lynching.”
It is important to look at the origin of a problem and not just the symptoms. Violence is an indication of an internal deficit that is expressed through thoughts and actions. Violence defies the African Principles of Ma’at (Truth, Justice, Righteousness, Law, Order, Reciprocity, and Compassion). If you just address the symptoms, you will find the same problem occurring later or in other places. The initial decline of the USA was the normalization of violence starting with the invasion of this continent by Caucasians and then the abduction of hundreds of millions of Blacks. According to Dr. Edwin Nichols, it is important to understand the philosophical aspects of cultural differences (1976, 1987).
The United States was born out of horrendous violence. People who classify themselves as white, invaded these lands and massacred hundreds of millions of Indigenous People. In addition to killing the rightful owners of this land, these white people tortured, raped (men women and children), and ultimately stole the valuable lands from Indigenous People and forced them to live on the most barren pieces of land. To ensure that these people would not be able to reclaim their lands, they limited their food and medical supplies. The children were forcibly taken from their families and placed in “boarding schools” where the Indigenous children were prevented from interacting with their own siblings, punished if they spoke their native language forced to speak English, and taught to reject anything associated with their ethnic heritage. The children were sexually, physically, and emotionally abused. Recently, mass graves have been found where thousands of Indigenous children were buried.
The abuses and resulting conditions of racist acts against Indigenous People mirrors, in many ways, the Maafa that Blacks have and continue to experience. Dr. Marimba Ani in her book Let the Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora, 1994, taught us about the Maafa. The Maafa is a Kiswahili word that describes, “an event or series of events that are considered a great disaster of human destruction.” One of the aspects of the Maafa, she describes is that it is “beyond human convention and comprehension.” When you are able to comprehend the extent of the harm done to Blacks, the mere awareness can cause additional trauma. Charging Blacks higher interest rates to purchase a home or denying a mortgage are acts of violence. Underpaying Blacks or not hiring Blacks are acts of violence. Refusing medical care, providing inferior medical care, and experimenting on Blacks are acts of violence. Not teaching ancient to present day Black history and claiming Black accomplishments as Caucasian accomplishments are acts of violence. The list of violent acts against Blacks by Caucasians who are defining and enforcing rules goes on. When Caucasians lost their sanctioned (legally and socially) rights to routinely, abuse Blacks, they turned on their own people. During slavery, mentally ill Caucasians had the freedom to engage in heinous crimes against Blacks without fear of prosecution. The police force was initially formed, during slavery, to track down and return Blacks who had escaped from enslavers. The police force was given the right to physically, and sexually abuse Black people, and in some cases, murder them. These deranged “officers of the law” became the foundation of the police departments with their racist mentalities. In is noted that not all police are racist or bad. The challenge is identifying the mentally ill police and removing them from the police departments. Police are usually protected by what is called "qualified immunity."
"...Qualified immunity is a judicially created doctrine that shields government officials from being held personally liable for constitutional violations—like the right to be free from excessive police force—for money damages under federal law so long as the officials did not violate “clearly established” law. Both 42 U.S.C. § 1983—a statute originally passed to assist the government in combating Ku Klux Klan violence in the South after the Civil War—and the Supreme Court’s decision in Bivens v. Six Unknown Named Agents of Federal Bure(Sobel, 2020). Police are considered "not guilty" of any crime while in the commission of their police duties. It is no surprise that we continue to be assassinated under the “qualified immunity” law.
Ani, A. (1994). Let the Circle Be Unbroken: The Implications of African Spirituality in the Diaspora. Red Sea Press(NJ).
Nichols, E. (1976, 1987). The Philosophical Aspects Of Cultural Differences. Nichols & Associates.
Sobel, N. (2020). What Is Qualified Immunity, and What Does It Have to Do With Police Reform? Lawfare
U.S. Const. Amend. XIII§1
Wright, B. (1984). The Psychopathic Racial Personality. Chicago, Il. Third World Press.
Welcome to Directions, the Newsletter for DVABPsi
Each issue is designed to address current issues, highlight the creative abilities of contributors, teach from an African-Centered perspective. Views and opinions in Directions are those of the authors and do not purport to represent the opinions or view of DVABPsi or its members.
Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC, Co-Editor
Auriane Nguiadem Kemegne, BA, Co-Editor
July 4 and Understanding The Purpose of Holidays
Holidays are an important part of teaching cultural values but Black people and other Melanics (People of Color) have been taught to embrace European values. A holiday is a celebration of an event which is valuable to use by a collective group of people. Through celebrating holidays, children learn what is valuable and correct as well as what is not. African people in the United States (or people of African ancestry whether called Black, African Americans, Afro-Americans, Colored, or Negroes) have been celebrating European/White holidays and rejecting Black holidays. Celebrating European/White Holidays is a direct consequence of being removed from our native land-Africa and being prevented from maintaining our cultural ties with Africa. Caucasians/Whites have colonized almost every country in the world and bring with them their beliefs and holidays. What many people do not realize is that many of the European holidays have been built around untruths or lies. This miseducation has hurt all people, including Caucasians/Whites and has been at the root of racism-creating propaganda to shape the beliefs of the masses. July 4 is celebrated by many as "our independence day." DVABPsi acknowledges that Melanics (People of Color) were not independent in the USA on July 4, 1776. Blacks were not recognized as "free" from being enslaved until the last group of Blacks were officially notified in Galveston, Texas on June 19, 1865. Blacks in Galveston began celebrating Juneteenth since 1865 which has become a national holiday, effective this year. Learning to think differently is difficult when you have thought one way about something all of your life. What changes do you think you will make after reading this explanation about the purpose of holidays? Will you do anything differently next July 4? To learn more about the holidays celebrated in the USA, please read the November 2021, issue of Directions. Ayo Maria Gooden, Ph.D., ABPBC
"The cost of liberty is less than the price of repression." W.E.B. Du Bois
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"Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we've been waiting for. We are the change that we seek." –Barack Obama
"I have learned over the years that when one's mind is made up, this diminishes fear; knowing what must be done does away with fear." –Rosa Parks
The Mashariki Gazeti
A CALL FOR PAPERS
Calling all articles (scholarly, opinions, etc.) about Africa, Africans, African Americans, psychology, advertisements, events, poetry, quotes, and announcements. The Mashariki Gazeti (MG) is published twice (i.e. September and March) during the fiscal year (i.e. August to July). Submission deadlines are August 15th and February 15th.
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"The time is always right to do what is right." –Martin Luther King, Jr.
"Character is power." –Booker T. Washington