Black is Not Bad and White is Not Good.
Be the Generation of Men that Changes Attitudes about Race and Racism
Being a millennial young man in America comes with a new world of social media and social connections where young people can make a real difference in society’s attitudes about race. If you’re a young man who wants to make a difference, change begins with you.
We need to change our language in America. Have you ever said, "Black and white thinking" as a comparison between bad and good thinking? What about using black to describe evil and white to describe good? Our language underscores our color associations with black being bad and white being good. This is a problem.
In America, we associate black with something to be feared. Europeans that immigrated to America brought their history and language of fear because of the "Black Plague" also known as the "Black Death" that killed between 75-200 million people in the 1300's, which further deepened the association between black and death. This is one reason why when we go to funerals, we wear black. But in Japan, mourners wear white to funerals. So, perhaps we need to change our customs. Why not wear green, blue, or purple? I am proposing a change in destructive cultural biases that sustain hatred and Anglo-centric perceptions of white being superior and "right" and all other colors associated with being wrong. These sorts of destructive color associations need to change.
We also need to get away from descriptions that include color. When you say, "a man walked across the street," do you say, "a black man walked across the street?" Why do you say that? Do you automatically say, "a white man walked across the street?" Most likely, you don't. I have learned to get away from black and white descriptors of people. At best, we can say an "African-American" walked across the street. But why? I avoid it, if possible. I don't say, "a European or Anglo-Saxon walked across the street," so why do we need to use labels? Let's eliminate them as much as possible from our descriptions of others.
Also, our religious views in America may contribute to sustaining a foundation for racism with its colorization of good and evil. Of course, it is all in the way we interpret our sacred texts. It is okay to describe good and evil, but what is the need to associate colors to these concepts? What if orange is really the evil color? Nonsense, right? Truly enlightened spiritual beings avoid labeling people as evil based on their skin color, because it's only skin pigmentation, nothing more. Hitler was truly evil, and according to our standards, he was white. So, perhaps if you truly believe in a Higher Being, you may want to check your heart and stop making people into objects of evil. Of course, we are all entitled to believe what we want and some of us will continue to embrace ignorance.
Actually, according to the laws of physics, white and black are not real colors. Black absorbs color in the light spectrum and white is a combination of all of the colors in the light spectrum. I think the Universe needs to be acknowledged for its wisdom here. These color labels for people just don't make much sense. Science rules the day.
Racism is a mental illness. We need to call it out for what it truly is. If we break down all of the thoughts and emotions that create racist perceptions, we can identify the following mental states and emotions: anxiety, paranoia, fear, insecurities, delusional thinking, irrational thinking, panic, intense hatred, helplessness, resentments, anger, aggression, phobias, and hysteria. If you visited a psychiatrist's office and left out the "racism" in your discussion of what you were experiencing, but included all of these other symptoms, you would leave with a serious prescription for medication, and perhaps several medications would be needed. So, why destabilize your peace of mind with unhealthy perceptions, beliefs, or attitudes?
Often racism is passed down in the same family generation to generation just like depression, alcoholism, generalized anxiety and other physical diseases. I am not saying that racism is genetic, but family culture can facilitate sickness. Just like losing weight is a good thing for your physical health, so is losing racism a good thing for your mental health.
Men, especially young men, can rally for change in our society. Let's stand with our brothers regardless of race and stand against old archaic beliefs that divide us and harm us. Let's change the words that come from our mouths and the attitudes in our daily practices that emphasize racial difference. Let's let other guys know that they are not cool when they insist that their racist views are right. Racism is not sexy. Racism is not attractive. Racism is like having a big pimple on the end of your nose while trying to date! It’s a bit repulsive. And it usually repels people away from you.
3 Ways to Change Racist Division Among Your Generation
1. Be an agent for change. Change the way you speak about race and get away from using color to describe people. When we change our words and our language about race, we will experience a positive mental shift away from negative feelings and attitudes about race.
2. Embrace diversity as a positive way to express our individuality and contributions to the human race. Diversity makes us stronger because we all have something to bring to the table of humanity. America's diversity has always been its best quality.
3. Speak out about racism and call out those who are racists. We are responsible for speaking up on behalf of our brothers and to hold racists accountable for their words and deeds. Don't allow your friends to tell you racial jokes and don't laugh at racial jokes.
Ultimately, love, compassion, and acceptance are what bring true peace and health to your life. I encourage you to be an authentic man and learn to embrace your own fears and turn them into courage when relating to people who are not just like you. Richness and depth of life come from diversity, so let’s enjoy one another. Namaste.
(770) 674-0553 / Option 3
For additional information about how to help young adult men, Daniel P. David, PhD invites you to visit: http://www.atlantamenscounseling.org. Dr. David completed his postgraduate psychotherapy education at the University of Oxford (England) and has successfully helped men of all ages experience positive changes and personal growth in their lives for more than 25 years. Click here for Dr. David's bio page.